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3 Tips to Run Effective One-on-One Meetings

Chris Sego
Chris Sego

A one-on-one is a regularly-scheduled private meeting between an employee and their direct manager or supervisor. The goal is to help employees get the support they need to unlock their full potential at work. 

There are many benefits of a well-executed one-on-one, including providing a “safe space” for employees to discuss what they’re struggling with, allowing managers to provide guidance and feedback, and helping employees feel confident in their work. 

How can you run an effective one-on-one meeting? 

Make it a Priority

The most important thing is to make the meeting a priority. It should be a regularly scheduled event on your calendar that doesn’t get moved around. Sometimes rescheduling is necessary, but that should be an exception not the case. Making this a priority for you and the employee will help them know it matters to you as well. 

Start with an Agenda

Start with a standard agenda. Both parties need to know what to expect and come prepared to share their thoughts and ideas. Have a tool visible to both the manager and employee to add and view agenda items for the upcoming meeting. Taking the time to prepare an agenda also demonstrates to the employee that the manager values the time.

Remember to be flexible where needed. Focus on that employee and hear their interests, needs, and concerns. The meeting is designed to have structure, but it should be conversational. 

Provide Support

Don’t use this time for regular work. For instance, don’t spend a half-hour talking about a project’s details; set up another meeting to do that. Rather focus on the employee’s needs and what they have on their mind. if regular work comes up in the discussion, fine, but make sure it doesn’t hijack the meeting.

Open the session with a check-in question. It may seem obvious, but with so many people working remotely, we may not have a full sense of how they are doing. It’s good to take that time to start the meeting slowly seeing how they’re feeling about their life and work.

Provide support and encouragement. Constructive criticism may be necessary, but balance it with positive affirmations. We want this to be a positive experience, so emphasize the employee’s strengths and the valuable qualities they bring to the table.

The best way to have a good working relationship and be aligned on goals is to spend time together. One-on-ones are perfect for bringing people together and allowing managers to show genuine care for the employee establishing a trusting relationship.

If you’re looking for more in-depth content, be sure to check out our podcast episode on this topic.

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