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Maximizing One-on-One Meetings

You know it’s important to regularly check in with each of your employees.  But too often one-on-one meetings are rushed and disorganized.

How can you make the meetings more productive and collaborative? What do you need to change as the manager?  What do you need to ask your direct report to do differently?

Here are 7 tips to help you maximize your one-on-one meetings.

  1. Schedule regular meetings. The frequency may be weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the individual.  More important than how often you meet is the fact the meetings are on the calendar and you keep your appointment.  Don’t get into the habit if canceling or rescheduling.  It sends the message that they don’t matter.
  1. Prepare discussion points. Write down a few bullet points of what you would like to discuss.  Invite your employee to do the same.  Spend the first few minutes planning your time so all important topics get covered.
  1. Be completely engaged. Turn off our phone.  Don’t type on your computer. Close the door.  Focus completely on your employee and the discussion at hand.
  1. Start on a positive note. Start by complimenting your colleague on something specific he does well or has recently accomplished.
  1. Solve problems together. Listen to their concerns and work collaboratively to solve any problems that exist.  Guide them by asking questions and giving feedback as necessary.
  1. Ask about career objectives. One-on-ones can be a good opportunity to help your team members be more thoughtful about their careers and lives.  Ask direct but open-ended questions about their goals.
  1. Show appreciation.  Always close the meeting with a note of appreciation. Words of affirmation can mean a lot.  Whenever possible, be specific when you express gratitude.