A manger having a one-on-one meeting with a team member

As a business owner or manager, you want to ensure that your team is engaged, productive, and working towards a common goal. Regular one-on-one meetings can be the key to achieving this.

In fact, businesses that prioritize one-on-ones have reported higher levels of employee engagement and productivity – making this simple practice a game-changer for any team.

As Kim Scott, a former leader at Google puts it “One-on-ones are your must-do meetings, your single best opportunity to listen, really listen, to the people on your team to make sure you understand their perspective on what’s working and what’s not working.”

Let’s have a closer look at what one-on-one meetings are, their purposes, and their importance to your business or organization.

What are one-on-one meetings?

A one-on-one meeting (also known as 1-on-1s or 1:1s) is held between two individuals working for the same business or organization. Usually, between employees and their managers but could be held between mentors and peers too.

One-on-ones can be scheduled every week, biweekly, every month, or quarterly. It depends on the team and company dynamics, and management style. However, they should be organized regularly.

One-on-one meetings provide the foundation for trusting and efficient work relationships. Experienced team leaders consider 1-on-1s as some of the most important meetings you can have as they provide a chance for managers to check in and engage their team members.

Pro tip: Prepare and send a meeting agenda beforehand and take meeting minutes (decisions and tasks) during the session. This way both parties come prepared, stay on track and have clarity on what was discussed and agreed upon.

What is the purpose of one-on-ones?

There are quite a few reasons behind holding one-on-one meetings and doing so regularly.

The purpose of such meetings should be defined by the manager and employee. If you set the goals together, it is easier to align on the things you want to achieve during the appointed time that you have. You can either work on short-term or long-term goals, depending on your priorities.

Some essential purposes of one-on-one meetings include:

  • Establishing and strengthening professional relationships
  • Creating space for open and honest discussions
  • Setting goals and action items to accomplish them
  • Giving and receiving feedback on how to improve the team member’s performance and work experience
  • Identifying and helping to overcome challenges
  • Determining job satisfaction and strengthening motivation
  • Establishing the connection between employees’ work and the overall goals of the business or organization
  • Receiving status updates on the current important projects

All in all, your one-on-one time during meetings should be divided between development, communication, motivation, and employee work duties.

Why are one-on-one meetings important?

You should look at 1-on-1s as a way to maintain healthy dynamics among the team members. In other words, these meetings contribute to the proper functioning of the team.

Regular one-on-one meetings can help create a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. By checking in regularly with team members, managers can identify challenges or performance issues that need addressing. They can also ensure that everyone is on the same page and advancing toward the team’s goals.

Additionally, one-on-one meetings can provide a valuable opportunity for team members to share their perspectives, ideas, and concerns with their managers, which can ultimately lead to improved collaboration, innovation, and teamwork.

Take HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing and sales software company. They encourage managers to hold regular one-on-one meetings with their team members. This practice has helped to ensure that everyone is aligned on goals, has provided a safe space to share feedback and ideas, and has helped to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

In Summary

Overall, one-on-one meetings are an essential tool for effective team management and communication in any business or organization. By providing a regular forum for open and honest discussions, setting goals, giving and receiving feedback, and identifying and addressing challenges, one-on-ones can help create a culture of accountability, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

Implementing regular one-on-one meetings with your team members can help you build stronger relationships, improve communication, and ultimately create a more productive and effective team.


The image above by Pressfoto on Freepik

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