Avoid These Mistakes in One-on-One Meetings

Woman speaking with boss in one on one meeting at Addison Group

Having regularly scheduled one-on-one sessions between managers and direct reports are important to keeping employees motivated, engaged and up to date. Unfortunately, these meetings are often held with no direction, unclear expectations, and minimal planning, which can lead to wasted time and effort. Below are some tips to transform those unproductive conversations into meetings that matter and make a positive difference.

Establish Structure for One-on-One Meetings

Your position of authority requires listening to gather information. Plan for success by:

  • Setting the expectation for mutual dialogue.
  • Including a meeting agenda on the invite.
  • Establishing parameters for follow-up.

Employees experiencing work challenges often have legitimate concerns that warrant further inquiry. You can gather valuable information by guiding a dialogue during which you gain useful information.

  • Use brevity to express your concerns. Be descriptive, using benchmarks to back your observations.
  • Invite the employee you are meeting with to respond to your statements.
  • Make reflective comments or expand inquiry by asking questions related to the employee’s remarks.

One-on-One Meeting Rules

Set ground rules for discussing interpersonal or personnel performance concerns during your one-on-one meetings. These and other small meetings can devolve into gossip or complaint sessions without some established guidelines.

  • Frame these to align with your organization’s philosophy of mutual respect.
  • Describe the potential organizational concerns associated with this behavior.
  • Provide guidance for how employees with workplace issues are to communicate those to you.

Your Timing for One-on-One Meetings

Convey the value and importance of supervisory meetings by:

  • Assuring they are timely.
  • Allowing sufficient lead time for scheduling.
  • Establishing the time frame and content of the meeting.
  • Being prepared with fair, objective feedback to share.
  • Assuring that the meeting takes place as scheduled for the designated time.
  • Providing opportunity for follow up.

One-on-One Meetings Overview

One-on-one meetings can be the opportunity to keep employees engaged and invested in the growth of your company, as well as themselves. Maximize your impact by not minimizing these conversations. Commit to making these internal conversations a priority.

“Designing a meeting is like designing a relationship.”

John Nawn, Meeting Designer

For more management tips, check out Addison Group’s article, How to Retain Top Talent in a Competitive Market. Ready to add top talent to your team? Connect with us now!

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