The How and Why of One On One’s

The How and Why of One-On-Ones

One On One’s

I’ve talked previously in blogs, training and with my clients about the importance of one on ones. I think, sometimes people wish I would stop talking about them. But I can’t and I won’t! I want to take this post to share the how and why of One On One’s.

The Why

Here’s why… I love them. Not because I love extra meetings or taking up my employee’s valuable time. I love them because they have been extremely beneficial to me as both, an individual contributor and as a leader, but probably more so as a leader. One on ones are dedicated space, protected time to establish and build a relationship. However, even if you are in a “long term relationship” with a direct report or a leader, one on one’s can still add value. Here’s how.

The How

  • As a leader, this is safe space to get to know your people on a different level. Learn about them. Learn who they are and where they want to go. Because ultimately, it is your job to help them get there.
  • This is also space to build trust. Make note of how you can help them and follow through.
  • One on One’s are dedicated time to communicate anything that needs to be communicated. Keep a list between one on one’s and deliver any non-time sensitive information now. This can be company or department updates, project status, changes that are coming up, etc.
  • This is your time to get updated on their work. Understand what their day looks like, how they are setting priorities and again, how you can help.

The One Rule

My number one rule with one on one’s is to protect them. There is no clearer way to show your people that they are not the priority than to schedule one on one’s and then constantly cancel or move them. Schedule them and keep them. Show them that they are the priority. And, again, schedule them. I’ve had so many leaders tell me that they do have one on one’s but they let them happen organically. Friends, that is not a one on one. That is a happenstance catch up meeting. And if you roll that way, it could be months between dedicated space time which leaves your employees feeling under communicated to, left out and not like the priority.

The Logistics

One on one’s can be scheduled to fit you and your team’s needs. I’ve have weekly one on ones and bi-weekly one on one’s. Any more than that and communication can lag and not be timely. These meetings also don’t have to last for hours on end. They can range from 30 minutes to an hour. I wouldn’t go much more than that or you could get one on one fatigue.

The Agenda

Also, think about having a loose agenda. These do not have to be highly structured but having talking points keeps the meeting flowing. Agenda items can include project updates, company updates, needs, goal updates, appraisal to do’s, and anything else that needs to be covered. I also always tried to start these meetings off with a personal aspect.

The Challenge

So, we’ve covered the basics, the how and why of One On One’s. Now, here is my challenge to you, if you haven’t tried them recently, try them with your team for 3 months. Just try it! Don’t forget to schedule them, protect them, and have a loose agenda. At the end of the 3 months, if you have not benefited and your employee has not benefited, well, then, we’ll chock it up to a neat experiment and lunch is on me. But, I bet that there will be a benefit.

Need Help Getting Started?

If you are a manager and you need help getting started or you are a business leader that feels like your managers could use some training before embarking on One on Ones then give us a call. We will be sure to set you and your team up fro success.

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