One-on-One Meetings: The Most Essential Tool In Any Manager’s Arsenal

One-on-One Meetings: The Most Essential Tool In Any Manager’s Arsenal
One of the most critical aspects of effective people management is regular and frequent one-on-one meetings. These meetings are essential for thee reasons:

  • First, one-on-one meetings provide an opportunity for managers to get to know their team members on a personal level, which can build trust and encourage collaboration.
  • Second, one-on-one meetings allow managers to give feedback and clear instructions in a confidential environment. This enables team members to be more open and receptive to feedback, which helps them improve their performance.
  • Third, one-on-one meetings allow managers and their team members to discuss complex issues better avoided in more extensive group settings.
One of the managers’ most common mistakes is not scheduling enough one-on-one meetings. Managers who do not regularly schedule one-on-one meetings are likely to experience lower productivity and morale among their team members.

To have fruitful one-on-one meetings, managers should be well prepared. This preparation can include making notes and using a recording device if appropriate and with permission; taking inventory of the project and gathering information on similar projects is also helpful.

There are a variety of ways to structure one-on-one meetings. Some managers prefer to hold all their one-on-one meetings in person, while others may use video conferencing software or a virtual meeting tool in the hybrid era. Whichever approach you choose, it is vital to ensure that each meeting is focused and specific in its purpose.

We have six core tips for you to master this essential skill. Read on here.

Most managers I speak with often ask me, “Ashish, what should I ask in the one-on-one meetings.” It is common for managers who are not used to these meetings to be confused about how to conduct them. Remember, these meetings are mainly for the team member and lesser for you to give feedback to them. I usually follow the 80-20 principle. 80% of the time is focused on the team member, and 20% of the time is focused on me providing feedback to them. Depending on your working relationship, the frequency of the meetings, and how deep you are in the process, there are a bunch of topics on which you can fix the agenda. The questions you can prepare to ask will depend on the topic you want to address.

Here is a handy guide that lists 25 questions on different topics you can ask. Obviously, these are not exhaustive. You can always customize these and add more specific ones for your situation. But these will surely get you started and sustain you until a solid habit is formed.

As I said, most of the time is reserved for the team members to talk. So you must encourage them and ask as many open-ended questions as possible. For this to work effectively, you must have developed active listening skills. But don’t worry, you will get your chance as well. When you speak, you must focus on only a few things.

  1. Giving constructive feedback
  2. Aligning the team member with the team’s direction and objectives
  3. Relaying critical information that concerns them
  4. Addressing conflicts
As you do this, you will see that you are using some common words across all your one-on-one meetings. This is what we call the manager’s vocabulary. There are a few words that every manager must understand and use for effective people management. These words cover a whole range of areas across the people management spectrum. I will not build the suspense further but rather share these words directly with you. This article lists these words and also their importance and usage. So, here you go 🙂

In essence, managers can get so much done through these effective one-on-one meetings with their team members. Not only do these meetings help to keep track of the work done by each team member, but they also provide a platform for resolving conflicts and ensuring that everyone is on the same page. It is, in fact, the lifeline of a manager and team member relationship. However, with so many distractions in our lives, making time for these critical interactions can be challenging. So remember, they are essential, and you must make time for the important stuff in your work life.

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