Better meetings series #2: How to get the best out of 1-to-1 meetings
For the next post in our series on having better meetings we’re going to look at one-to-one meetings. Check out the first in the series on company-wide all-hands meetings here.
One-to-one meetings are a conversation between a team leader and a team member, and are really as simple as they sound. However, the more you put in to your one-to-one, the more you will get out, so there are a few key things you should be doing to get the best out of them.
A one-to-one is an opportunity for your team member to express how they are feeling at work and for you to address any issues together. It requires honesty and trust on both sides, so investing the time is key – having them drop out of the diary is a main reason why they don’t have impact. Book out a regular time and don’t be tempted to skip one because things feel like they’re going well.
It seems obvious, but it needs to be said. One-to-ones are between two people and where possible, with the same two people each time. This should be a developing relationship, and the more history you have the more value both parties will gain.
Everyone gets one
Team members should all be given equal opportunity to air their views. No team member is immune from a one-to-one!
One-to-ones are an open space for feedback, discussing challenges and getting support. This isn’t about judgement or testing, and it’s important that team members understand that. Transparency from the start will ensure the process is authentic and has the intended effect. For example, make it clear how information shared within the one-to-one will be used.
While one-to-ones are all about the employee’s growth and development, don’t forget how much you as a manager are central to that. Don’t miss the opportunity to get an honest opinion on all aspects of management, from style and culture to process and workflow. The meeting is not only about giving feedback – it should be used as a space for you as a manager to learn how you can change things to better empower your team member.
Set milestones and review
One-to-ones don’t end once the meeting is over. They fit within a process of continuous feedback, iteration and improvement. The meeting itself will uncover points that need to be addressed, so set milestones and hold each other to account at your next review. You can use software like Solid to keep track of feedback and action points.
Keep an open door
In order for trust to build, one-to-ones shouldn’t be the only time that team members should feel they can approach you. Have an open door policy where team members can catch up with you in between meetings informally over coffee, lunch, or even on-the-go.
Good one-to-one meetings pay for themselves over and over again. Employees who have a good one-to-one relationship with their managers are often more engaged and are empowered to self-manage. It’s such a simple idea, but the rewards it can bring to both organisations and individuals are huge.