One on One Meetings aren’t for you

Look, nobody is saying you guys don’t talk to each other. Really.

I mean, think about it… with some of your direct reports, you speak multiple times each day. Hell, some of them all day. Like it or not. And no, that wasn’t a question, so stop nodding your head.

And anyway, that’s not the point.

The point is, we sometimes speak so much and so frequently that we never seem to get around to the conversations we should be having with those we lead.

The conversations that are about them. Not about what you want, but what they want. Not about your needs, but what they need to move forward. Not about your grandiose vision and plans for the future, but their ideas on what their career, life and future will look like.

Enter the 1:1 meeting.

Everyone likes to talk about themselves. You get to do it all the time – mainly because we like to believe that the rapt attention we receive when doing so means that those in front of us are pining away, wondering what future you have mapped out.

In reality, they’re listening to you discuss the future to help them determine how (or if) they fit into it. Or even if they want to fit into it.

What should be happening, if it isn’t already, is that you sit down with your folks, individually and regularly scheduled, and listen to them talk about themselves. Things like, what they want, how things are going (really), their expectations, and how you might fit into their future.

How you might fit into their future?

Crazy stuff, huh…?

1:1 meetings, solo gatherings between you and your direct reports on a regular (read: scheduled) basis are not just any meeting. For instance they are not:

    • Routine status checks,
    • Repeats of operational updates, or even
    • Personal performance assessments.

They are, however, about:

    • Their priorities,
    • Their targets,
    • The challenges they face, and
    • What actions they (or you) might take to better help them do their job and achieve their goals.

(If you need a template, click here.)

Totally centered on “they” and “their,” not “me and “my.”

We don’t do 1:1 meetings just for the hell of it. As a leadership tool, they foster engagement, improve relationships, give us early warnings, and create that sought-after discretionary effort.

No visible downsides.

Wins all around.

Added resource: A more in-depth, instructional look at 1:1 meetings can be seen here.

At C-Level Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive our newsletter jam-packed with info, leadership tips, and fun musings.

You have successfully subscribed!