Research shows that managers can dramatically boost team productivity, morale and engagement when 1:1s are done effectively.
I recently received a comment on a LinkedIn poll by Denis Cauvier, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author & Trainer who stated that ‘1:1 meetings and engagement check-ins are extremely powerful investments to engage, develop, and retain top talent.’
If you’re a manager or team leader, 1:1 meetings are one of the best ways to develop a strong working relationship with your direct reports, boost employee engagement and keep everyone on the team aligned and motivated.
How could you make the most of 1:1 meetings?
Managers hold 1:1 meetings with their direct reports—and with good reason! According to Officevibe employee surveys
‘Employees who are satisfied with how frequently they communicate with their manager also…
Feel that their manager cares about their opinion.
Are satisfied with their level of autonomy at work.
Report really feeling that they are a part of a team.’
In light of this research, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your 1:1’s, especially if you lead large teams. Here are 5 tips for ensuring that you’re facilitating this time together as effectively as possible.
Stick to a schedule hold your 1:1 meetings weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Be realistic on how often and for how long you can meet. Either plan to meet with all your direct reports on the same day or split things up across the week. Avoid cancelling 1:1’s since it can send the message that your reports aren’t as important as your other commitments, so don’t call them off unless you have no choice.
Co-create the Agenda
1:1 meetings are the perfect time for both you and your team members to share your ideas, concerns, and needs. Using a shared platform like Google Docs, or a shared document, leave room for both you and your direct reports to set the agenda for discussion—and make sure you both contribute.
Stay on Target
An established structure will help both you and your direct reports know what to expect and will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by too much detail. Set a pattern or tracking tool for every 1:1. For example, you might always make sure to cover weekly updates, obstacles and successes, short-term goals, long-term career development opportunities, and action items.
Some of your direct reports may struggle to share their perspectives during a 1:1. Prepare a set of both closed and open-ended questions (“How are things going?”) and more directed inquiries (“As things stand, do you think the team will be able to achieve [name a collective team goal]? Why?”) This will ease the pressure on the team who won’t feel the need to lead the entire conversation.
Given the confidentiality of 1:1 meetings, you need to ensure that your direct reports view them as a time to feel safe, empowered, and heard. Don’t get defensive or critical as this will shut the conversation down, so do your best to use 1:1’s as an opportunity to listen and learn.
Reflect on the 1:1 meetings you’ve been part of. What worked? What didn’t? Which of the tips above would you most benefit from? Discuss your approach with your Coach, if you have one, or with a trusted peer or friend, and decide what changes you may need to do moving forward.
Download this Manager 1:1 meeting cheat sheet by clicking the button hereunder and use this tool to guide your 1:1 meetings and keep track of your team members' progress and needs.