The 8 Golden Rules for one to one meetings – including the most common mistakes to avoid
Why you shouldn’t do it in the back of a taxi, over a pint on a Friday, or three weeks later than you said you would. We’re talking here about the importance of one-to-one meetings with your direct reports – check out this article for following the 8 golden rules.
Do you hold regular one-to-one meetings with your direct reports? And if you do, how effective are they?
When we ask our clients about one to one meetings they often say things like: –
‘Oh yes, we have regular one-to-ones because we go to client meetings in the same taxi’
‘There’s just no need for us to have one-to-one meetings in the diary, because we’re both in the office at 8 am so we catch up then’.
In some professional service organisations, the only way to have a one-to-one meeting with a direct report is to ‘take them out for lunch’. This is time consuming and disastrous for your waist-line!
Why are regular one-to-one meetings so important for your business?
- One to one meetings that are set up and conducted properly are a highly effective management tool.
- They act as an early warning system. Your direct report knows that they will have this regular opportunity to talk to you in private.
- They will tell you things you need to know, that you might not hear otherwise.
- You can review their performance and set goals with them. Consequently, both your direct report and your organisation are continually moving forward.
What’s the focus of these meetings? Here are 8 do’s and don’ts:
- You and your direct report should work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business during a one-to-one meeting
- The meeting should not last longer than 40 minutes
- You need a clear agenda that allows for personal updates (a check that everything outside of work is OK) and then a discussion of progress against performance objectives.
- The leadership communication style is that of a coach. Ask open questions and be an active listener
- The meeting is informal (no notes go to HR unless this is performance management)
- Your team member supplies the answers, comes up with solutions and generally does most of the work
- They take the notes, and together you agree what their next steps are towards their performance goals
- These meetings are held monthly. It’s important you don’t cancel the meetings or allow them to be interrupted
One of your accountabilities as a leader is to engage the people in your organisation. By holding these meetings, you place a premium on the time spent with the individual and they will feel valued and more engaged as a consequence.
Looking for some additional help with structuring your meetings with individual team members? Click on the graphic below to access our guide to holding more effective one-to-ones: