One-on-one meetings are the heartbeat of managing

(PS - Register for the Free One-on-Ones Mini-Course which includes one on one meeting templates for word: one on one worksheet with one on one discussion template)

For a simple concept, one on one meetings are misunderstood. There isn’t any standard for these meetings. How long are they meant to be, how frequent, what content to cover? Are they regular or are they ad hoc as needed? And so it’s not surprising that people’s experience of one on one meetings differ. Some managers don’t even do one on ones because there’s no bible of management that tells you what managers must do. What I like the most from my one on one meetings is that they are a great tool to stick to deadlines and keep progress going forward. For my staff, but also for me. This is why my one on one meetings are my heartbeat of managing:

Do most of your actions get done just before the meeting?

When I get an action from a meeting I have to admit that I hardly ever take care of it immediately. My excuse is because it seems like I spend my whole day rushing from one meeting to the next. And if you’re anything like me, far too many actions drift until the follow-up meeting. So you could say that meetings make work happen because there is a furious rush of activity clearing off actions before the next meeting! It’s not an ideal situation and I’m not proud to admit it, but I know it’s reality for a lot of people.

Employee performance. Employee accountability

In an ideal world everyone would be well organized. Employees wouldn’t procrastinate and actions would take care of themselves without follow up. But we know how work is; there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Things get delayed, things get forgotten. We can’t all be Noel Fielding and live in Fantasy Land. So we have to deal with reality. One on one meetings build accountability in your team.

And it’s not just them, it’s your productivity too.

Wrong or right, things slip away from me. And this can bring things to a grinding halt when my staff need my input to progress. Knowing that I will be speaking my employees soon is a good way to “keep me on my toes”. And as a reforming accountant I can be a perfectionist. I delay and fiddle until I know it’s perfect. I find regular deadlines help to balance perfection with delivery.

Status updates keep you informed and moving forward

And I don’t know about you but I have to admit to handing out actions to my employees that I fail to follow up. In the ideal world we don’t need to follow up because our employees shouldn’t need chasing up. BUT this isn’t just about keeping the employee accountable. Because it’s also about me knowing that the work has been done. And knowing what has been done so I can do the next steps. That’s why regular one on one meetings aren’t just about me following up. For me they’re about the future too.


To me, my one on one meetings are the heartbeat of my management. A regular heartbeat keeps my team healthy and moving forward. When they stop everything else suffers. But I’ve also found that the key is having high-quality one on one meetings. If you’ve never been trained how to do one on ones then a good place to start is with the free one on ones mini-course which includes one on one meeting templates for word: one on one worksheet with one on one discussion template:


Do have any one-on-one tips to share with us?

Boss Camp

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