What do you Actually do in One-on-Ones

So one on one meetings are part of your essential management practice and the key to people management. One on one meetings are unsexy routine but it's the routine of your management practice that produces results. One on ones done right will change your life and put you on the path to management Nirvana. But of course the question is what do you actually do in a one on one meeting?

Tip: If you want to start having kick-butt one on one meetings then I invite you to try the complimentary mini-course on one-on-ones (includes a 1-2-1 download with 1-2-1 template) which will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's:

One on One Meetings Have a Structured Format

Let's quickly go over the one on one meeting agenda - there are 4 sections. they are 1. The Employees Agenda, 2. The Manager's Agenda, 3. Deliverables for the week ahead and 4. Growth. So that's the structure, let's dive into what actually happens in those sections:

Employee’s Agenda

Starting with the employees agenda. Remember as the boss, you can get ahold of your employee at any time but your employee doesn't have the same rights even if you operate an open door policy. The One On One meeting is your employees time with you, not the other way around. and to make it work for your employee you always start with them.

They choose what to talk about. This includes work and personal. Because having time for a personal catch up right at the beginning is what builds your knowledge and connection with the employee. It's an investment that pays back. But obviously it's not just about chatting. This is their time to give you status updates, keep you informed and ask you questions.

A mistake that managers make is that they butt in. This makes the employee feel unheard and destroys your relationship. Your role is to listen and ask questions. that's one reason why Active Listening Skills are one of the Foundational Manager Skills

Your Agenda as a Boss

The second part is your opportunity to communicate with your employee. This is where you can keep them in the loop about what is happening in the company, the team and with future plans etc.

And this is where you do your performance communication because it's your job to guide them in the right direction and encourage them. That's why Performance Communication is another Foundational Manager Skill. It's simple: if someone is on the right path, keep them there and if someone is losing their way, guide them back. Performance Communication has only got a bad name with bosses that don't know how to do it properly.

P.S. Don't forget the essential Dr Gottman ratio of 5 times as much positive communication to negative communication.

Future Deliverables and the Week Ahead

The third section is future deliverables. A meeting without deliverables is a waste of time. Because without actions none of your good ideas will be turned into anything meaningful. And as a boss this is how you know what your employees will be working on.

And this is also your chance to agree priorities. I can share with you that your employees have very different priorities to you. And so without communication they concentrate on work that is unimportant to you while neglecting work that you desperately want. The blindingly obvious way to get what you want is to ask for it. But far too few bosses have mastered this simple art.

Growth

The last part is growth. Because growth is essential to staying viable but did you also know that growth is a fantastic double edged motivation tool? That's because growth improves employee productivity with better skills and capabilities. But growth also motivates employees because people want to learn and progress.

Growth includes the larger macro view of the employee's career progression and on a lower level it also includes improving the skills that your employee uses every day. Because successful bosses are constantly coaching their employees to get better at their jobs and learn new skills.

The last component of growth is delegation. Because delegation isn't just a chance for you the boss to leverage the time, skills and abilities of your employees to get stuff done and reduce your own workload. Delegation is also a chance for your employees to develop. And successful bosses know how to delegate effectively to get  better results than they could've done themselves. That's why Employee Development and Delegation are also both Foundational Manager Skills.

Cover Everything in 30 Minutes

Now this sounds like a lot but you can get it done in 30 minutes. And you won't be covering everything in detail every week. Remember that 30 minutes every week is better than 60 minutes every two weeks. Meeting every week is essential to keep forward momentum. Plus keeping communications channels open and efficient. Miss a meeting and you'll find that you will spend just as much time, if not more in interruptions and inefficient communications.

Conclusion

Regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest people 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 you will also:

  • Improve employee engagement,
  • Boost productivity,
  • Build better relationships with your staff.

That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (includes a 1-2-1 download with 1-2-1 template) which will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of 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.

complimentary one-on-ones course for employees

When you up-skill your employees you ensure that you get what you want from your one on one meetings. Make your one on ones work by sharing the complimentary mini-course for employees with your team. One on Ones for Employees will show your staff how to:

  • Plan in advance for their one-on-one meetings with you,
  • Follow a structured agenda for one-on-one meetings,
  • Keep track of objectives and deliverables.

Comments

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


Boss Camp

As a manager you can get upset when your employees do something wrong, you can get annoyed that they don’t do what you ask. In short you can be the chocolate teapot boss. Or you can learn how to be a boss, like a boss at www.boss.camp. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,

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  • What are bad employee motivators,

  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,

  • How leaders get power.