Great 1:1 meetings drive accountability by continuously keeping top priorities, top priorities.
If you feel that your one-on-ones aren’t especially useful, then it’s time to improve your process. I truly find that 1:1’s are the single most important meetings of my week. It helps me set expectations, communicate priorities, and listen to the struggles/challenges that each person on my team is having. When done well, 1:1’s drive engagement and accountability.
Trap: Don’t get caught by the misconception that 1:1’s are just another meeting or that the “open door” policy is better. I truly believe by focusing 30 min of time each week on each of your direct reports, you will free up hours of meetings by delegating decision making power, and eliminate last-minute fire drills by getting ahead of problems before they blow up while results by motive each person to stay focused on your team’s top priorities. When done well you will also reduce email and phone calls because both of you have a predetermined weekly time to talk through or share key information.
How to create more effective 1:1 meetings
1-Recurring, scheduled meetings: Weekly, bi-weekly depending on your role/business.
2-Brief – 30 minutes. It may look like this:
15-20 min: Progress on goals and priorities
- Progress should be reviewed for each goal; share with your leader any issues or blockers they may need to help with to ensure that the target will be achieved.
5 min: Share recent accomplishments – ask for feedback
- Ask for feedback from your leader. Any good work or praiseworthy behavior should be recognized and encouraged. Be open to it. It is a gift!
5-10 min: Development and open-ended Communication
- Leave this open in the agenda – where does your leader need help? It may be an opportunity!!
- What are you working to further your career development? Discuss ideas.
3-Location: Consider having your one on one meeting outside or out of the office – the change of venue can contribute to a more relaxed session.
4-Timing: Consider the timing for the recurring meeting. 4pm on Friday is not ideal for a focused conversation about your career development.
5-Commit to your 1 to 1 meeting – make it a priority: The first thing you need to do is make your one on one meeting a priority. It’s easy to skip meetings, so schedule a recurring calendar event each week to ensure the appropriate time is set aside.
6-Establish the 1:1 Meeting Agenda Format: Setting a mutually agreeable agenda allows the both participants to show up prepared and with aligned expectations.
7-Prepare so you can look forward, not backward: Thoughtful preparation. If you submit your template to your leader the day before your one on one meeting, each will arrive at the meeting knowing what will be discussed and allow you to spend the bulk of your time looking to the future, brainstorming, creating action items, and connecting personally.
8-Focus on you and your projects and development: Avoid discussing other employees’ work during your time together, unless it’s specifically applicable to the conversation.