As a manager, one-on-one meetings are one of the most useful tools available when it comes to bridging the gap between you and your team members. When implemented properly, one-on-ones are perfect for fostering relationships with your associates, addressing issues within the company and ensuring that your employees’ goals are being met.
First, let’s discuss exactly what one-on one’s are. They are individual meetings between you and only one of your team members, where you designate an allotted amount of time each month with each team member. During these meetings, you discuss certain topics relevant to the team member’s concerns and current situation. Spring Strategies finds these beneficial for many reasons and we continue to do them on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.
A great way to structure one-on-one meetings is to plan for 10 minutes of informal catch-up at the start, 10-20 minutes of employee concerns, 10-20 minutes of manager response, and 10 minutes of plan of action/resolution. This structure allows for you and your team member to ease into the meeting comfortably, gives your associate the floor and your complete attention while they voice their concerns, allows for you to address their concerns, and provides time for the both of you to come up with a concrete game plan for how to tackle the up-coming month.
Keep in mind, these meetings are for your employees. They are not meant for you to critique your employee’s performance, or for you to give them updates on the office happenings. Those updates are reserved for another time, (reviews, team meetings, etc.). One-on-ones are meant for the purpose of building and improving employee-manager relationships and for your associates to have the opportunity to come to you with issues that they may be having in the office. It is also a great opportunity for you to check in with them about where they are at with their goals and how their current status within the company is aligning with their ultimate career goal. Maybe there is something you can do to help them stay on track with their professional goals, and these meetings are the perfect way to ensure that you are both on the same page.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that you may receive some feedback that may be difficult to hear. Chances are, at some point you will hear some opinions about your management style, things going on at the office, leadership style, etc. Don’t let it ruffle your feathers. Make sure you practice accepting negative feedback gracefully, even if you don’t agree with it. These are great learning experiences for you, too. Take everything into consideration, and if you are consistently hearing the same concerns, it’s probably time to make some changes.
Make sure to jot notes down and log them into your computer, so that before your next meeting you can reference them. You will want to assure your team members that you are invested in their future within your company. There is nothing worse than meeting with a boss who can’t remember the last thing you told him/her each time you’ve met.
After each meeting, be sure to send your employee a wrap-up email, summarizing everything that you went over. This serves two purposes. One: It proves to your team member that you value his/her time and what he/she has to offer to the company. Two: You can save a summary of that email for future reference if you need to look back at what was covered in the meeting.
One-on-ones are an invaluable asset to both managers and their team members and should be utilized on a consistent basis. They are the perfect tool for employees to voice their concerns, build relationships with their managers and keep on track with their professional goals. One-on-ones are a win-win for everyone involved, so be sure to make an effort to make time for your team!
While we have many one-on-one meetings, we also have large conferences. Stay tuned for information on our next one coming up in sunny Las Vegas! Those are kind of our favorite ones.