If you're new to one on ones or you want to start having better on on ones, then I invite you to try the complimentary mini course: 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. (Including a 121 template with a 121 worksheet)

Management is About Routine Behaviors: What's the management equivalent of brushing your teeth?

Some things in life aren’t just good for today – they’re vital for tomorrow. Think about the daily routine of brushing your teeth. It’s probably the number one “chore” that parents assign to their children. Followed promptly by, “Make your bed.” And so we do it because we know that we have to. But as we grow up we come to realize just how important this daily habit is because:

  • If we don’t brush often enough things start to build up and we end up having issues and,

  • If we’re doing it wrong then we could end up causing damage to our teeth and gums.

So to avoid ruining a perfect “Colgate Smile” we get into the habit of brushing daily. And we brush properly, using a good technique, with the right toothbrush.

Managing employees is also about routine behaviors. Regular one on one meetings with staff are where it all comes together. One on ones might sound unsexy and uninteresting and that’s why many managers see them more as a chore. But when you get into the habit of having regular one-on-one meetings with staff then you:

  • Keep business moving forward,

  • Avoid issues from escalating and,

  • You pre-empt problems.


Regular, High Quality One on One Meetings Make Managing Easy

Great bosses know that there are fundamental skills that you need to manage staff that they just don’t teach you in business school. Such as active listening, inspiring performance communications, task delegation, employee development etc. etc. What I love about one-on-ones is that it’s like a shortcut where you get everything in one. Because weekly one-on-ones with your directs create an efficient forum for doing all these things. This is how you can free up your time to focus on other priorities.

In my experience just the process of having one on one meetings with staff accomplishes even more. For example: with regular one on one meetings you’re building functioning relationships. Over time, you’re getting to know your employee likes, dislikes, what they are good at etc. Doing one-on-ones builds loyalty with your staff. It’s tough to quantify the benefits. But anything that results in better people performance is a worthwhile investment.

Termed “The Meeting I Never Miss” by Fast Company Magazine. All the great leaders that they interviewed were in agreement.  The single meeting they never miss is their weekly one on one meeting with their direct reports:

  • Time spent with their team,
  • Getting to know what they’re doing,
  • How things are going,
  • Providing resources,
  • Getting updates on projects etc.

... is invaluable.

What Distinguishes a One on One Meeting From Everyday Communication?

Of course all managers talk to their direct reports. But even if you’re speaking to your directs on a daily or weekly basis, it’s not the same as a one-on-one.

This is because you need an appropriate forum to:

  • Encourage relationship-building and,
  • Comprehensively cover all your management responsibilities.

Casual exchanges lack the dependability that builds relationships and ensures results. Casual exchanges don't save you from frequent interruptions which is another benefit of regular one-on-ones.

Regular, High Quality One on Ones are the Single Easiest Management Tool

Did you know that regular, high quality on on one meetings with staff are the single, easiest management practice? 

Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go, but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana. It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana.

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a 121 template with a 121 worksheet). It's free and it will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. If you're already having one-on-ones with your staff then you'll probably know some of the concepts on some level. But maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers.

A good ONE ON ONE meeting feels as satisfying as brushing your teeth

How good does brushing your teeth feel? Do a good one on one meeting with your staff and you'll have the same satisfaction. But just like brushing your teeth, it's not just about taking care of today's problems. Regular one on one meetings prevent tomorrow's problems too.

The other half of a successful one-on-one - your employees

To make sure that you're getting the most out of your one-on-ones I’ve got a complimentary mini-course for your employees. When you upskill your employees you ensure that you get what you want from your one on one meetings. One on Ones for Employees will show your staff:

  • How to prepare for one-on-ones,

  • What to do in their one-on-ones with you,

  • How to keep track of their tasks and deliverables.

Super-User Tip: If you've never implemented one on one meetings with staff before then the best way to make sure that your employees buy into the process is kicking off with a one on one meeting invitation. To make it easy for you we have a one on one meeting request email sample that you can download and customize.


Do you have any questions, tips or advice about one-on-one meetings between managers and employees? Please help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.