Regardless of which resource you tap in to, the need for Effective Communication is always considered a business essential for Managers and Leaders. Coupled with the need for today’s team-members to observe transparency within their workplace, there has never been a more important workplace essential than open and effective communication.

Whilst the broadcast-style of communication can work wonders when sharing a generic message to a large audience, strong business relationships are built upon more intimate and meaningful communications. Herein lies the business sweet-spot that is the 1-on-1.

The Role of 1-on-1 Meetings

In many workplaces, the announcement of a pending 1-on-1 with a Team Leader or Manager can conjure up undesirable images for the employee. Too often, 1-on-1 meetings have served as a tool for Managers and Leaders to address under-performance and to modify or correct a behaviour or action. In this instance, the opportunity for further developing a meaningful business relationship can be eroded, since the meeting can be viewed as a negative interaction from the perspective of the employee or team member.

The 1-on-1 meeting provides an ideal forum for the exchange of ideas, building rapport, tracking progress on projects and goals and discussing engagement and performance – all within a safe and confidential setting.

As a Manager or Leader, these insights to your people are essential in order to remain connected with the team. To dismiss the value of these engagements is to fuel a disconnect between the Management or Leadership group and the remainder of the workforce.

Prepare for the Meeting in Advance

In order to make the most of the time you will have together, and to make the meeting less intimidating for the individual, take steps to prepare for the meeting.

  • Schedule a time and place for the meeting with the individual, making sure it suits both parties
  • Establish goals or objectives for the meeting
  • Draft an agenda – invite input from the individual
  • Collate any information which will assist in discussions
  • Use a reminder to allow you to stick to the appointed time

Making it more than a Chat

The use of an agenda can allow the Manager and the individual to address key issues and provide both types of feedback – reinforcing and re-directing.

A simple format for 1-on-1’s

  • Informal check-in: i.e. what have they been involved in, what are they looking forward to.
  • Recap on recent work: an opportunity for the individual to share recent successes, challenges and goal-tracking.
  • Forthcoming work/goals: a chance to discuss what lies ahead for the company and their role in it. This provides a chance to offer coaching or mentoring opportunities.
  • Open discussion: this provides the individual the chance to raise any concerns or questions. Here is the time to really listen!
  • Wrap-up & action items: highlight the key take-aways for both and set actionable items (2-3) to focus on prior to the next meeting.

Remember, regardless of the management structure of the business, everyone should be working toward a similar/same goal. Therefore, it’s integral that 1-on-1 meetings should create a platform where all team members can collaborate on business objectives.

  1. Josh Roberts 4 years ago

    Great read and reminder.

    I think all too often we can work off assumptions and group environment behaviours, I definitely have done so previously anyway.

    Providing an environment for vulnerability and proper discussion to take place I shall be putting much more focus in/on moving forward as a leader/manager

    • Author
      Greig Ward 4 years ago

      Hey Josh. Thanks for the feedback and added insights. Appreciated.

  2. Roshan Helaluddin 4 years ago

    Valueable content here Greig! Practical takeaways ??

    • Author
      Greig Ward 4 years ago

      Thanks Roshan. Glad you found the info to be of value.

  3. David Howie 4 years ago

    This is very useful will be sharing with my guys that are coaching and developing others as well!

    • Author
      Greig Ward 4 years ago

      Thanks Dave. Glad you can find immediate use for the info and insights. Keep us posted on any feedback or notable improvements.

  4. Ben 4 years ago

    If you were going to make a list of questions to ask every staff member at every meeting, what would it contain?

    • Author
      Greig Ward 4 years ago

      I’m not sure if such a comprehensive and all-encompassing list could be created to any genuine effect, Ben.
      Generic questions that can be used or adapted to most 1-on-1’s may include; “What is something you’ve taken pride in during the last month/quarter?”; “If you could identify an area of improvement which would benefit the company, what would that be?”; “During the past month/quarter, what workplace challenges have you faced. Which have you managed or mastered, and which are still posing you challenges?

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