One-on-one Meetings

6 secrets To Make Your One-on-one Meetings With Your Team effective

One-on-one meetings are one of the most critical skills for any manager. They allow managers to get to know their team members better and form stronger work relationships. It is one of the most vital meeting formats, but managers either ignore it or take it for granted. This post will help managers understand the importance of one-on-one meetings and give them six tips to conduct one-on-one sessions in the best possible manner. By following these tips, managers can make the best out of their one-on-one meetings with their team members. It will also ensure that they have a good and thorough knowledge of each team member.

What are one-on-one meetings?

One-on-ones (1:1s) are an essential tool for any good manager. A one-on-one is your chance as a manager to connect and build a bond with your team member. It also presents an opportunity for managers to check in with their team members, get to know them, provide feedback, receive feedback, and course-correct as needed. The focus should be on topics beyond work rather than on taking status updates.

Moreover, 1:1s can also be an excellent opportunity for team members to raise issues or concerns with their manager. These are meetings or sessions that managers have personally with individual team members to discuss their work, wellness, performance, motivation, team environment, and more. To perform effectively, the team should know their goals and objectives and what to do to fulfill them. One-on-one meetings are the best way to do so.

Why are one-on-one meetings important?

One-on-one meetings are essential for many reasons, including:

  • They allow managers to get to know their team members and their aspirations better by listening to them attentively
  • They allow for candid and open communication with team members and work status updates
  • These meetings are the best practice to help to foster relationships among team members
  • They provide the opportunity for managers to provide constructive feedback, performance review, and guidance to team members
  • Managers can also use these meetings to get feedback about their management style
  • They can help to identify areas of improvement or strength in team performance
  • These meetings can guard against micromanagement, which can negatively impact team productivity
  • These meetings are also an excellent way to figure out the coaching or training needs of employees for their career development
  • Ultimately, these meetings ensure higher employee engagement and better employee experience, which is an essential thing for employee retention

How often should managers conduct one-on-one meetings?

Managers need to constantly communicate with their team to ensure the team meets the company’s goals. But how often should this communication be in the form of one-on-one meetings? There are some factors to consider in this case.

  1. Manager’s experience – If the managers are new to the role and have recently been responsible for managing the team, they should conduct these meetings more often, like once a week or once in 15 days. This is also applicable for managers starting new roles or taking charge of new teams in place of another manager. It is because new managers will still be putting things in place, and a bi-weekly meeting with team members will help them with ideas to shape everything well. However, if the managers have a settled team, a low frequency of meetings, like once a month, will do the needful.
  2. Type of work – If the job assigned to the team or a few members of it is too hectic, it is advised that managers conduct regular one-on-one meetings in this case. Ensuring that the team is engaged and motivated and that the heavy workload does not lead them to burnout is essential. However, if the work assigned is not that hectic, low frequency, like once a month, will do the needful.
  3. Team size – One of the significant factors to be considered when deciding the frequency of one-on-one meetings is the team size under the manager’s span of control. If the team is too big (>15), the manager has no other chance to go with low frequency, like once a month. Whereas with a small team (<10) under control, managers can consider having more frequent one-on-one meetings like once a week or bi-weekly, giving them a chance to build stronger bonds with the team.

6 tips for managers to make the most out of one-on-one meetings

One-on-one meetings are an essential part of team management. They allow managers to get feedback from individual employees and establish clear expectations for the team. By following these six tips, managers can make the most of their meetings and achieve their objectives:

Make a schedule in advance

Making the most of one-on-one meetings can be challenging, especially if you haven’t planned. By scheduling your session in advance, you can develop a game plan and ensure that both sides can fully prepare themselves. Scheduling it in advance will also allow your employees to take time for the meeting and plan their work accordingly so that their productivity doesn’t get interrupted. The best way to make it predictable is to put a recurring invite in your respective calendars. E.g., have a 30 min slot booked with each of your team members on the last Friday of the month.

Further, if, due to any circumstance, you will not be able to join and you have to cancel or reschedule the meeting, you should also inform the team member about that in advance. It will ensure that there is no waste of time, and they will be able to manage some other essential tasks within the time saved by the meeting being canceled or rescheduled. Also, ensure that you don’t skip a missed meeting. You must reschedule it for the earliest available opportunity.

Establish clear expectations of what will be discussed during the meeting

After scheduling the meeting, the next step is establishing clear expectations of what to discuss. Without clear expectations, one-on-one sessions can be frustrating and time-wasting for both sides. A manager should always set the agenda or clear expectations for the meeting and cover all the key areas they want to discuss. It will help avoid surprises or unforeseen issues that could disrupt the meeting or cause tension between the manager and their team. Additionally, a manager should also take the time to understand their team members and tailor the meeting agenda accordingly. By doing this, both sides will get the most out of the meeting and emerge with a better understanding of each other.

Try to make the meeting as specific as possible

Managers often spend too much time on generalities in their one-on-one meetings, wasting time and resources. Instead, try to make the meeting as specific as possible. For example, if you aim to determine why an employee’s low productivity in the past week, make sure that your questions revolve around figuring out the same. By being specific, you will also ensure that employees understand the thought behind the meeting, which will give them an idea about the changes or consistency you seek in their performance. Going in any other direction can waste not just your but also their time.

Use the meeting to get feedback from individual employees

One of the most important aspects of any manager’s job is getting employee feedback. Feedback is essential to improve the team and work environment and ensure that your team members are comfortable with each other and how you manage them. However, it is not easy for managers to get that feedback from employees that is too honest. These one-on-one meetings can be a great way to get this feedback from employees. When you interact with your employees, the sense of confidentiality can allow them to be honest with you about the team and work environment. Their thoughts will help you identify gaps or shortcomings and improve the team’s environment and work quality.

At the start of the process, the team members may not open up and give feedback. But as you build trust with them and they know that you genuinely seek feedback, they will start opening up. This clearly shows that you have built trust with your team member.

Take notes during the meeting for future discussions

Taking down a few notes can prove highly beneficial when you have a one-on-one meeting with an employee. By doing so, you can capture the key points discussed and ensure you have a clear recollection of the conversation. Additionally, taking down these notes can be used as a reference for next time. Taking notes will help you better understand the employee’s perspective. This will also help you address open points or action items you may have agreed with the person. Next time you meet, you can start with the action items and update the status to each other. Moreover, by keeping a record of all the discussions with employees, you can bridge the communication gap and build trust and rapport with them.

Ensure to address all points before ending the meeting – don’t leave any questions unanswered!

Managers need to make the most out of one-on-one meetings by ensuring to address all points before the session ends. Doing this will avoid any potential conflicts or misunderstandings that could arise later on. Additionally, it is essential not to leave any questions unanswered. This will give the manager a better understanding of employees’ concerns and help resolve any issues that may arise. Leaving any points unaddressed or any questions unanswered can also be detrimental in the long run. It can lead employees to believe that they do not matter and will cause frustration at work.


One-on-one meetings are essential for the manager to get direct feedback from the team. By understanding the tips outlined above, the manager can ensure that the meeting is productive and allows for open communication. We have a highly detailed and efficient One-on-one meetings toolkit for you. This toolkit contains all the information you need to conduct one-on-one meetings effectively. From a template to preparing pre and post-meeting notes, this toolkit will help you understand in-depth how managers can conduct these one-on-one. Go ahead and give it a read.

Get more value out of one-on-one meetings with the free toolkit.

An effective guide for conducting valuable one-on-one sessions with your team.

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