One of the best ways to build relationships with coworkers and employees, is to meet with them one-on-one. Implementing the practice of conducting meetings is an excellent way to establish rapport, ultimately making employees feel appreciated and improving their overall productivity. While most managers are aware of the benefits of one-on-ones, not everyone understands how to effectively manage and improve one-on-one meetings.
In a recent survey, approximately 72% of managers indicated that one-on-ones were one of the most important things they do to manage the performance of their teams. In addition, 75% of managers felt that employees left their one-on-ones more motivated. From the perspective of the employees, 58% of them said they left one-on-ones more motivated than they were prior to the meetings.
Inefficient one-on-ones can have the opposite effect on an employee and yield negative results. In order to combat these unwanted consequences, consider the following tips, which can help make one-on-one meetings more effective and productive.
Prepare for the meetings ahead of time
Per The Harvard Business Review, many one-on-one meetings feel hurried and disorganized. This can be mitigated by planning ahead of the meeting. Instead of winging it and going with the flow during the meeting, try to implement the following habits:
- Schedule the one-on-one meetings in advance allowing the participants proper time to prepare
- Ensure that enough time has been allotted. If there are many issues to cover, instead of scheduling a long two hour meeting, perhaps it would make sense to set up a recurring 30-minute appointment that takes place at the same time every week. An alternative idea is to plan for a 60-minute bimonthly appointment, which would be held once every two weeks.
- Make notes regarding the topics that need to be discussed. Make sure to stay on topic and the conversation is productive. Prior to the meeting, encourage the employee to write down anything they would like to discuss as well, as this will help them feel empowered and involved.
- Inform employees about any important details that relate to the upcoming meeting. It helps if they have an idea of what the meeting will encompass.
- Out of respect, show up on time and try not to cancel any one-on-one meetings at the last minute. If someone is running behind schedule let the other party know as early as possible.
Learn the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful one-on-one
The following are good indicators of a successful one-on-one meeting:
- Two-way communication that allows both parties to actively listen and participate
- A conclusion that results in the creation of a plan of action that identifies a solution to the matters at hand
- If a simple conclusion could not be reached, a recognition that further steps will be considered to devise a resolution to an issue
- An understanding that the work environment encourages open and honest communication
On the other hand, indications of a poor and dissatisfactory meeting include:
- Pessimistic, defensive, or confrontational attitude
- No agenda or flow of conversation
- Communication issues, including a lack of meaningful dialogue and an imbalance in the conversation
- No clear point to or intention behind the meeting
- Little to no significant outcome
- A feeling of stress, frustration, or misunderstanding
One-on-one meetings are an unmatched opportunity for different people to connect with one another on a professional, yet in-depth level. Done well, they can boost communication, productivity levels and performance. However, in order to maximize the benefits, proper planning and effort need to be expended. Upon leaving a meeting, everyone should feel that the time was well spent and meaningful.
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