Tips For Leaders: How to master 1:1 Meetings

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As a leader, one-on-one meetings are one of the best tools you have to engage, coach, and develop your people.   1-1s are a time to make sure you and your team are aligned. Regular check-ins stop larger issues from festering, allow for immediate and regular feedback and promote open communication. We share here 4 tips to help you make the most out of the time you have in your one-on-ones. 

1. Do not skip or reschedule the 1-1s unless absolutely necessary 

As a leader and manager, you should consider one on one meetings with your employees an essential activity. Do not let your own workload obscure your responsibility towards your employees professional and emotional wellbeing. One-on-one meetings tend often to be considered less important than other meetings, but this could not be further from the truth. Most employees who have regular one-on-one meetings have more trust in their leadership, will be more open to discuss issues, and most importantly feel more appreciated in their role and tend to be more focused and motivated than other employees without the same kind of access to their management.

2. Prepare for the meeting 

Having a structured one-on-one meeting is important so that all the important matters can be discussed. It can therefore be very beneficial if you know in advance the various subjects that are going to be brought up. To achieve this, you can ask in advance a list of items your employee would like to discuss and possibly let them know also in advance what is going to be part of the discussion. 

You can also prepare by already getting updates on all the work being done so that the meeting can then be used to clarify and discuss current goals and milestones. 

3. Be present – and listen 

It is crucial to give your full attention to the one-on-one meeting in order for it to be fully productive for both parties. Showing that you are listening and giving your employee 100% of your attention will let them know that you also respect their time, and you value their input. Similarly, you should convey to your employees that you also expect their undivided attention during the meetings. 

You should absolutely avoid checking your email, using your phone or letting the meeting be interrupted by any other means. This is even more important if you cannot have the one-on-one in person but have to rely on other technological solutions. Even with phone calls, but definitely with video calls, the other party can easily detect a lack of attention which can severely impact the usefulness of the meeting. 

4. Initiate the conversation and ask the right questions 

As a leader with coaching-based management style you have to not only get to know the strengths of your employees, but also to be able to discover their needs and possible frustrations. Even the best employees may have sometimes difficulties sharing things about themselves. In this case it is essential for you to be able to ask the right questions to get all the information you require to help your employees perform at their best level and support them with any potential struggles they may be experiencing.

A set of questions at hand can help open up the conversation. For example, asking them how comfortable they are with their current tasks and workload, what they would need to ensure everything is proceeding as expected or how they are dealing with challenges, is a good way to start!

One-on-one meetings are essential to the wellbeing and to the growth of your employees. Mastering the skill of leading regular, efficient and productive meetings will help you and your employees make sure that you are on the same page and ensure a fruitful collaboration, therefore leading better results and less frustration on both sides. 

Want to learn more about how to improve your leadership style? If running your business and balancing your life feel far too often like fumbling around in the dark, our programs serve as your flashlight. Click here to learn more!

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