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1-on-1 Meetings: An Essential Key to Leadership

1-on-1s are the perfect opportunity for a leader to communicate with their employees on a personal level — 1-on-1s show that you have an invested interest in your team and their success. Even the busiest manager needs to make time for these personable meetings. Far too often, leaders mistake these meetings as a waste of […]

1-on-1s are the perfect opportunity for a leader to communicate with their employees on a personal level — 1-on-1s show that you have an invested interest in your team and their success. Even the busiest manager needs to make time for these personable meetings. Far too often, leaders mistake these meetings as a waste of time. Rather than seeing these meetings as a waste of time, consider them an investment. To hold effective 1-on-1 meetings, consider the following practices.

Don’t make these meetings about you.

1-on-1s are not about you; they care about your team members. This is not your time to check on the status of projects or share updates; this is a time set aside for the team member. Ask your team to prepare an agenda before the meeting and write down the key points that they want to discuss. Explain to them that there are a few things that you want to cover, but their agenda comes first. This type of language helps to show that your team member’s work matters and is important.

Bring Your Most Energetic and Enthusiastic Self

By the end of the day, most people are tired and ready to go home. Don’t leave your 1-on-1s until the last minute possible. You will want to bring the best version of yourself to these meetings, and that’s hard to do when you are focused on just getting through the end of the workday. The people on your team deserve to have your full attention; therefore, you need to schedule your 1-on-1s during a time of day where you can give your all.

Don’t Skip the Small Talk

Leaders will often skip the small talk to get to the business-related topics. Don’t do this. Team members feel more appreciated and connected when being asked about their life outside of work. 1-on-1s should focus on the person as a whole, not just their professional life.

Put Away Your Phone

Glancing at your phone while someone is talking to you, can be extremely off-putting. Whether you have a smartwatch, phone, or laptop, shut it off and put it out sight. Before your team member arrives, take a few minutes to remember what you discussed in your last meeting and prepare your thoughts for this meeting. Be sure to show that your team member has your undivided attention.

1-on-1s are not only advantageous for employee engagement, but they are beneficial for leaders. Whether it’s direct or indirect, you will receive feedback from your employees in these meetings, and you will learn if what you are doing as a leader is successful.

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