Not having one-on-ones with your team means you are missing out on a lot of things. Many companies and organizations have one-on-one sessions between bosses and their employees regularly. However, not all one-on-one sessions are taken with the utmost seriousness that they deserve. Some managers, for instance, would ask themselves if the hours spent on such sessions are justified. One-on-ones can be time-consuming. Yet the time spent on one session will have a significant impact on you and your team if done right. Timely feedback is valuable, and opportunities to motivate and support your people are priceless. Here is a guide on how to make your one-on-ones more productive.
Before the meeting, prepare yourself by having the right mindset. Consider the one-on-ones as free-form meetings with no fixed agenda. Make sure the employees understand the session is not a performance review and neither should the feedback obtained be used for such purpose. Also, inform the employees that the one-on-ones will be on a recurring basis so that they can adjust themselves to meet the schedule. As mentioned, before the meeting, you shouldn’t have a fixed agenda but instead, have a general agenda that will get the conversation going.
In the meeting, as the leader, you should set the stage with an informal tone. Begin each meeting by sharing a win as it creates positive energy. Focus on asking open-ended questions and listening attentively to your employees’ feedback. Also, don’t forget to conclude each meeting and prepare for the next one. The one-on-ones should be kept informal and private. The venue should be somewhere relaxing where everyone can feel comfortable to express their views. Some good ideas include going for a walk, having coffee in a local café, or even talking over lunch.
As much as the agenda shouldn’t be fixed, it is important to prepare a few questions that you would want to ask. Some employees may have some things they would want to share, but they won’t do so until they are asked. Common topics that managers like to cover include;
- Work habits: ask questions such as which part of the day do you feel more productive? What were your biggest challenges this week? What do you do to overcome the challenges that you face?
- Team collaboration and relations: increasing interpersonal relationships among members increases team productivity. Ask questions like who is your biggest inspiration in the team? Why? Who do you find difficult to work with in the team and why?
- Team’s happiness: a one-on-one conversation is the best opportunity to address personal and team happiness issues. Some questions that you can use include are you happy working here? Why or why not? What can be done to make you happier with your work?
Other topics that managers like covering include finding out their employees’ goals, personal developments, and manager improvement amongst others.
After the meeting, note down the main points of the discussion and how you plan to follow up on them. Also, ensure you plan for your next meeting!