Doing one-on-one meetings with your employees once a week sounds like it would take up a lot of your time. But the secret benefit of effective one-on-one meetings is that they actually save you time. The key is to follow a proven, efficient One on One Meeting Template. You can get your free 121 download here. I'm going to show you two ways that you can save your management time with One-on-One meetings.

Effective One on One Meetings Will Save You Time

Some bosses swear by their One-on-One meetings. Fast Company Magazine featured it as "The one meeting I never miss" which clearly means it's working for them. But for other managers One-on-One meetings sound like something nice to do, when they get the time to fit it into an already busy schedule. If your One-on-One meetings aren't getting you results and saving you time, then read on. 

One of the top complaints that bosses have is: "How am I meant to manage my employees when I have my own work to do?" It's true that managing employees sucks away your time with extra duties and interruptions. Here are two ways to take back control of your work day:

1. How to save time by being super-efficient 

Being a boss comes with a lot of extra responsibilities. You have to monitor the status of work, guide employees performance in the right direction, develop employees, delegate tasks to employees and keep priorities on track. Just to mention a few. It's a mouthful just saying it and the reality is that most bosses just don't find the time to do everything they should. And the sad thing is when you start neglecting your responsibilities with your staff, then you end up with more work fixing problems and covering the gaps. No wonder too many bosses feel like they are drowning.

The solution is to package up all of your management responsibilities into one time efficient meeting and do them all in one go. Following a proven One-on-One meeting Template will ensure that you don't miss anything important.

2. How to save time by consolidating interruptions

The reality is that your employees need to speak with you. Whether this is for status updates, getting important information or for making decisions. And without a designated time to communicate with you, your employees are going to interrupt you each time they need your input. But weekly one-on-ones with your directs are a virtual “communication bucket” to consolidate interruptions.

Instead of coming to you each time they have a question, problem or issue your direct reports can group their communications for the weekly one on one meetings with the boss. And if you're smart, you can encourage your employees to do this (by training them what they need to do in a One-on-One meeting with their boss).

Personally I find interruptions very inefficient because they lack context. And a 5 minute interruption costs a lot more than 5 minutes worth of distraction.

Reducing interruptions is going to help your own focus and personal effectiveness. But it's also good for your employees because your direct reports won’t be left feeling like they don’t have your attention.

Here are two top tips to keep your one-on-one meetings time-efficient and productive:

1. One-on-One Meetings Should Only Take 30-Minutes

One-on-ones are great because you can do most of your managing all in one go. 

But we also know that if you don’t manage the time then you will lose focus on the important issues. The easy way is to follow a good one-on-one meeting agenda that allows you to cover the most important bits in 30 minutes. A good one on one meeting agenda has four sections:

  1. The Employees Agenda,

  2. The Manager's Agenda,

  3. Deliverables for the week ahead and

  4. Employee Growth and Development.

Initially this will be a lot to do in 30 minutes but you will get better at it as you practice. And you won't be covering everything in detail every week. (If you’d like to find out more about what you should be doing in your weekly one-on-one meetings I’d like to invite you try the free mini manager training course: 3 Steps 2 Easy 1 on 1’s. This includes a 121 download with best practice one on one meeting agenda)

Remember that 30 minutes every week is better than 60 minutes every two weeks. Meeting every week is what keeps forward momentum. And this keeps communications channels open and efficient. Miss a meeting and you'll find that you will spend more time in interruptions and inefficient communications.

Pro Tip: Don't be the boss that has to struggle to keep the agenda on track. Instead send your employees on my complimentary "One-on-One meetings with your Boss" training and they will arrive, ready to hit the ground running.

PS: If you need a extra time to cover other issues like project status reporting then that's fine too.

2. Schedule One-on-Ones in Advance so your employees know when they are

One-on-ones are most effective when they are scheduled regularly. There are lots of good reasons why the consistency is good for keeping things moving forward etc. But if you want your employees to save all of their interruptions for one time slot then your employees need to know that they can rely on that time slot. If you don't have a time-slot pre-scheduled or if you cancel then it's no surprise that your employees will go back to interrupting you. 

Pro-tip: Have a regular standing time slot and if you can’t make a one-on-one meeting, don’t cancel – reschedule.  


When you do one-on-ones right, you start to get your time back because effective one-on-one meetings are a super efficient way to manage staff, avoid those annoying unscheduled interruptions and prioritize work. If you’ve never done one-on-one meetings before or if you want to improve the one’s you’re already having then the best place to start is with a free one on ones mini-course:

How You Can Upskill Your Employees

Because the other half of a successful one on one meeting is your employee, I’ve got a complimentary mini-course for your employees. The best way to get what you want from your one on one meetings is to up-skill your employees. One-on-Ones for Employees will show your staff how to:

  • Plan in advance for their one-on-one meetings with the manager (you),

  • Follow a structured agenda for one-on-one meetings,

  • Make sure they are working on your priorities, not theirs


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