So often, 1:1 meetings are considered a complete waste of time by both the manager and their direct report. Generally, they have no structure or purpose; they are just a ‘quick catch up’ or a ‘chat’.
With so much pressure on our time, high-performing managers and direct reports don’t have time for ‘catch ups’ (perhaps the mediocre managers and direct reports still do?). They need meetings to be purposeful, relevant and valuable.
Here are my top three tips for making this happen.
#1 On-Time and in a Private Space
When 1:1 meetings get ‘bumped’, the message that sends your direct report is that neither the meeting nor the team member is important. If your direct report senses this, you can be sure their motivation will decrease. Subsequently, so will their productivity and their contribution to the team.
So, make your 1:1 meetings a high priority in your calendar. Start them on time and in a place where you, and they, can speak openly and honestly, without other ears listening in.
Show your direct report, in the tangibility of a 1:1 meeting, that you care about them and their work.
#2 Ensure Your 1:1 Meetings are Forward-Focused
So often in 1:1 meetings, 80% of the discussion is about what your direct report has already done. Only 20% of the time is spent talking about the future, i.e., the priorities for them in this next period.
Your 1:1 meetings will be much more relevant and valuable when you flip this and spend 80% of the time with a forward focus. Agree on the main priorities for the next period, the critical tasks or action steps involved, the potential obstacles, and how you can help remove any barriers.
With this emphasis on the future, you will both walk out of the meeting feeling it was beneficial and worthwhile.
#3 Show Your Appreciation
One of my favourite quotes is ‘People go where they are wanted, but they stay where they are appreciated.’
Too often, we don’t overtly appreciate people. We assume they know how much we appreciate and value them and their work. If you don’t tell them, your high-performers and hardest workers will not think they are doing a great job.
People tend to assume the opposite; they mustn’t be doing very well because you haven’t said anything to them. When they don’t feel appreciated or valued, they get tempted to look for another job. That is a risk you definitely need to mitigate in the current climate.
The best way to appreciate people is to tell them precisely what they have done well and that you value their contribution to the team and the business.
How well do you currently do these three things in your 1:1 meetings?
Make 1:1 meetings count. Learn how to use them to empower individuals, remove obstacles, pre-empt people’s needs and create better teams.
Doing so will result in your direct reports kicking more goals, showing initiative, feeling valued and consistently going the extra mile for you and your business.