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1-on-1 Meetings Are the Key to Great Leadership

Meetings - TBM Payroll, Glens Falls, NY

This article comes from Entrepreneur.

1-on-1 Meetings Are the Key to Great Leadership

When a busy manager says they don’t have time to hold regular 1-on-1s, they’re really saying they don’t have time to be an effective manager. Holding regular 1-on-1s is an investment in time, but it pays off in spades.

Consider these 4 best practices for holding effective 1-on-1 meetings:

1. Don’t make it about you.

This is not your opportunity to check on status, hold the team member accountable, or share updates. Effective 1-on-1s are the team member’s meeting, not yours. Ask them to prepare the agenda (provide them with a worksheet or template, if needed). Say, “We’re going to be meeting next week. I’d like you to use this worksheet or one of your own to think ahead of time about the things you want to cover. There are a few things I want to cover, too, but we’re going to tackle yours first.” That kind of language and intent communicates that your team member and their work matters to you.

2. Account for your energy.

The majority of people are worn out at the end of the day. You want to bring your best self to your 1-on-1s, not the “leftovers.” Because we have such strong relationships with the most important people in our lives — whether our family members and our top performers at work — they unfortunately often end up with the remnants of our energy, our creativity, and our time. The people who matter most, both professionally and personally, deserve your finest and best attention. Schedule your 1-on-1s accordingly.

3. Don’t skimp on chitchat.

Discussing non-business related topics is not a waste of time. How’s the home renovation going? Did your daughter pick a college? Is the new puppy settling in? People, particularly remote workers, need special attention to feel connected to their teams. 1-on-1s should absolutely incorporate the whole person and not just professional lives, to the extent your team member is comfortable.

4. Put. Your. Phone. Away.

When I was growing up, looking at your watch when someone was talking was one of the rudest things you could do in a conversation. Now we don’t realize that if we glance at text messages on our smartwatch, it has the same impact. Take off your watch, close your laptop, and put your phone out of sight. Take a few minutes before your team member comes into the room, and think through what you talked about last time. Make sure they know they have your undivided attention.

The worst thing you can do as a manager is to cancel a scheduled 1-on-1 meeting. It sends the signal the employee is not a real priority. This is also not the time to ask for progress reports or to set more tasks.

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