Stop letting ineffective one-on-one meetings harm your team

I was conducting a Manager Effectiveness Master Class session today, and one participant asked me, “How can we gauge the mood of our team members? Or make them comfortable to speak their concerns openly to me.”

Effective one-on-one meetings are among the best ways to gauge your team’s mood. But, a similarly ineffective one-on-one meeting can take the train the other way too very quickly. So often, starting a chain of one-on-one catch-ups with your team seems easy until it becomes too tiresome and repetitive for the managers and their team members.

Good one-on-one meetings bring up relevant issues, enable healthy relationships between managers and teams, and keep managers up-to-date with the team’s concerns. However, bad one-on-one sessions impact the team negatively too. But before that, what does a bad one-on-one meeting experience look like? Here are some signs: 

  • The conversation is going nowhere. If you wonder why you are in that room and what you are talking about, it’s a huge red flag.
  • Either the manager or the employee has a negative or defensive attitude during the meeting, preventing constructive discussion.
  • One person dominates the conversation throughout the meeting. 
  • No impact comes from these meetings if they are mere meetings in themselves, without those inputs being used to improve things around them. 
If you find most of these happening around you, it’s high time to take action!

#Managers who lead ineffective one-on-one meetings are generally committing some common errors. For instance, not preparing before the meeting can give you trouble in conducting the discussion in the right direction. Therefore, when starting the session, it is essential to be aware of the issues that need to be discussed. Moreover, managers should also give the team members ample time to share their views. Here are some ways to do it right: 

  • Review previous meeting notes: Review the notes from the previous one-on-one meeting with the team member to refresh your memory on what was discussed and any identified action items.
  • Set an agenda: Create an agenda for the upcoming meeting that includes topics to be discussed, any questions to ask, and any feedback to give. This agenda can also be shared with the team members to help them prepare.
  • Ask for employee input: Ask the team member if there are any specific topics they would like to discuss during the meeting. It ensures that the employee feels heard and that their concerns are addressed.
  • Come prepared with relevant information: Bring all pertinent information or data to the meeting that will help facilitate discussion and decision-making.
  • Change the environment: Consider changing the meeting location, such as going for a walk or having a virtual meeting instead of an in-person meeting. Changing the environment can help break the monotony and stimulate new ideas.
Similarly, managers can take steps to reduce other common errors in one-on-one meetings, like not listening actively to the team members or not taking follow-ups frequently as needed. The key is to remember that one-on-one meetings are effective when they benefit both managers and team members equivocally without being taxing on either. 

You can assess your one-on-one meeting skills with Risely for free to ensure that you are not making any of these common mistakes made by team managers. While these mistakes cost teams big time, it also negatively affects your professional growth as a manager. The free self and team assessment from Risely saves managers from these blind spots holding them back. 

The free one-on-one meeting assessment helps managers critically consider and evaluate their one-on-one meeting practices. Moreover, team managers can also anonymously collect feedback from their team members to know their weak areas. It delivers insights straight to your inbox to get you going on a journey toward success. Click here to start now.

Otherwise, ineffective meetings can become a drag on the team members. As a result, they would be demotivated to communicate with their managers and leaders with an openness that helps conversations move forward. It can also fuel resentment due to the time and effort involved. 

Ineffective one-on-one meetings erode trust between the manager and employee, as employees may feel their concerns are not being heard or addressed. In totality, unproductive one-on-one meetings are a missed opportunity to build cohesive teams. Ensure you avoid making these same mistakes, and keep moving forward!

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