1-on-1 meetings: Do’s and Don’ts

1-on-1 meetings: Do’s and Don’ts

One of the effective modes of communication between employees and their managers is one-on-one communication. These interactions are not just weekly meetings; when done right, they help two individuals connect to achieve a broader organizational goal.

However, if you appear for a one-on-one meeting in an unstructured way, little can be achieved out of these meetings. During this trying time of the pandemic when most businesses are operating remotely and social distancing is the new norm, one-on-one meetings have become one of the most crucial tools between managers and employees to connect, especially when they are not present physically on the office premises.

To help you ensure that you achieve the most out of your one-on-one meetings, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

Foundations of One-on-One Meetings: The Do’s

  1. A great manager needs to be a great coach too, who knows the right solution-based and open-ended questions to ask. Prepare yourself with the right set of questions to ask before going for a 1-on-1 meeting with your team members. It is important to ask the right questions and solution-focused questions to motivate the employee and create new mental maps that encourage changes.
  2. One-on-one meetings are not meant to track progress on projects or just take status updates. One-on-one meetings should go beyond that and open up the scope for real, raw, and difficult conversations. Remember, it is an opportunity to connect and know each other well. This helps during the performance appraisal. Focus on building relationships because when you do that, it is possible to have a positive impact on their minds.
  3. Pause for a moment and spend some time on self-reflection before going to your one-on-one meeting. Look and think forward, take time to plan for the most pressing issues. Self-reflection also allows gauging if you both are on the right alignment.
  4. Remember, a one-on-one meeting is meant for a collaborative connection. It should be aimed in such a way where both the manager and employee should be willing to take ownership. Encourage dialogue and an open discussion instead of a monologue where the employee just takes orders from the managers.
  5. Remember to have an agenda in place. Ensure that you just don’t wing it because that communicates a negative message. It shows that you do not care about the other person’s time.
  6. Shed light on how the business is doing, areas where it is doing well, and where more work is needed. Chalk out a plan on how the employee and the team can pitch in. This will boost employee morale and allow them to work in a collaborative environment.  This will ensure to boost the morale of the employee and work in a collaborative environment. In this way, the managers get 360-degree feedback from their team members which can give a better outlook for the benefit of the company
  7. Provide insightful feedback and shed light on current performance along with developmental goals. 

Here are Some Quick Tips to Break Down the Monotony of the one-on-one Meetings.

  1. A one-on-one meeting need not be boring and monotonous. Remember, an insightful meeting can happen even without an office space. 
  2. You may want to take your team members out for breakfast or coffee to have an informal catch-up. Interestingly, many employees feel comfortable to open up when they are not bound within the office space. This helps to connect well and make the most of your one-on-one meeting.

Here is Some Don’ts to Remember to Help your one-on-one Effective Discussions.

  1. Don’t wing it. Go to the meeting with an agenda in place. 
  2. Don’t just hear, ignore it, and move on. If you do not agree with a point, speak it up and work towards a solution. Ignoring and moving on sends strong negative messages that you don’t care about the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
  3. Do not start your one-on-one meetings straight away with delegating tasks. Dictating what people should do is old-school management. Ask questions instead to bring out as much information as you can on the table and then work collaboratively towards a common goal.
  4. Do not confront your team members who might have received a poor review or have not met expectations in the recent past. Instead of saying “you made a terrible mistake” or “you received a really bad review”, try saying “I want you to improve in this area in the next assignment”. Be constructive in your feedback as much as you can. Ensure you choose your words carefully. Remember, you are not here to make your employee feel miserable, rather motivate them to perform better. 

Wrapping Up

Most of us communicate in our workplaces in autopilot mode without putting in a lot of thought and conscious effort. One-on-one meetings are the best way to put in our thoughts and efforts to communicate better and work on building professional relationships. If you have always struggled with conducting an effective one-on-one meeting, the pointers discussed above will help to prepare you better for your next one-on-one meeting. While one-on-one meeting play a crucial role in connecting the workforce for performance, isn’t it obvious to trust data that can be easily accessible and manageable by a performance management system.  

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