Managing a remote team is no easy feat. As a hybrid remote manager, you may juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities while trying to bring out the best in your team. If you wonder how to effectively manage your team and unlock their full potential, the answer is one-on-one meetings! Before we get deeper into the topic, let’s explore what one-on-one meetings are and why they should not be overlooked.
What are One-on-One Meetings, and Why are they important?
At its core, a one-on-one meeting is simply a dedicated time for you and each team member to sit down and catch up on what's been happening with their work. It’s a time to check in on their progress toward the organization's objectives, share feedback, and collaborate on solutions to any challenges or roadblocks that may arise.
Unlike those other meetings, which are often focused on specific projects or team goals, one-on-one meetings are all about your direct reports.
By taking the time to have regular one-on-one meetings, you can establish open communication lines and build a stronger working relationship with your team, get to know and coach them as individuals, and show them that you care about their professional growth and well-being.
But what's the best way to conduct these meetings? What questions should you ask? How often should you have them? And how can you encourage your team to come prepared with talking points? Don't worry, our comprehensive guide will provide all the answers you need to make the most out of your one-on-one meetings.
The Magical Benefits of One-on-One Meetings
According to Gallup research, employees with regular one-on-one meetings with their managers are three times more likely to be engaged in their work. And engaged employees are not only happier and more productive, but they're also more likely to stick around for the long haul.
Here are some of the reasons why great managers have regular one-on-one meetings – and why you should too:
Increase Performance and Enhance team alignment
Providing a space for you to address issues proactively and stay on top of each direct report’s productivity. These meetings enhance team alignment by ensuring everyone focuses on what matters most and is connected to the team's objectives.
Individual conversations allow for ongoing clarity of responsibilities and expectations to each team member, removing ambiguity and reducing misunderstandings.
Foster positive work relationships and engaged employees
Regular one-on-one allows you to get to know your team members personally. By listening to their concerns, interests, and aspirations, you can build stronger relationships with them, leading to increased trust, loyalty, and collaboration.
Enable Constructive Feedback Exchanges
One-on-one meetings open space for exchanging feedback between you and team members, creating a culture of openness and transparency.
Encourage Ongoing Professional Development
Through these meetings, you can identify your team member’s individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as their career aspirations and goals. This can help to create a customized development plan for each employee and promote a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
The best managers understand that these meetings are an optional add-on and an essential foundation for successful leadership. Investing time in your team members and showing them that you value their contributions can build a wonderful employee journey, unlock your team's potential, and improve trust and p5 Tips to make your One-on-One Meetings 10x Better
To make the most of your one-on-one meetings, it's essential to have the right approach. But what's the secret to making them truly effective? Look no further than these five tips that can take your meetings from mediocre to remarkable.
Schedule Them First
One of the managers' most common mistakes is scheduling one-on-one meetings as an afterthought. Don't let other tasks and meetings hinder this critical time with your team members. Instead, schedule one-on-one meetings first on your calendar to prioritize them and ensure they happen regularly.
When scheduling one-on-one meetings, set clear expectations and purpose for the meeting and share them with your team members in advance. This helps them prepare and contributes to more productive conversations.
Listen More Than You Talk
One-on-one meetings allow team members to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Encourage them to speak by asking open-ended questions and listening carefully to their responses. Avoid interrupting, and don't dominate the conversation. Instead, use this time to understand your team member's sharing.
Give Constructive Feedback
Providing feedback is a critical part of one-on-one meetings, but it's essential to make sure your feedback is constructive and to help them improve. Feedback should be a two-way conversation, so you should be open to asking their feedback about you.
Take Notes and Follow Up
During the meeting, don’t forget to take detailed notes and summarize your discussion. This will help your team members stay on track and feel supported and accountable. Follow up on action items in future meetings and provide ongoing support as needed.
Game-Changing Topics & Questions For Your One-on-One Meetings
Here are some general talking points that can be tailored to help guide your conversations toward the specific outcomes you expect:
Icebreaker questions & Check-in to get to know them personally
- How was your weekend?
- What's something you've been grateful for recently?
- Have you read or watched anything interesting lately?
- Do you have any fun plans coming up?
- What is your preferred way of work communication?
- What are the prioritized tasks you're working on?
- How do you feel about your workload?
- What challenges have you faced since we last met?
- What's something you're currently learning or trying to improve?
- Have you received any feedback that you'd like to share?
Goal Settings with clear expectations
- Are you clear on what you’re expected to do in your role? Are there any specific tasks or responsibilities that you find challenging?
- What resources or support do you need from me or the team to help you achieve your objectives?
- What projects would you like to work on or be more involved in?
- Are there other roles within the organization that you find interesting or appealing? Why?
- How do you feel about your performance over the past quarter?
- Are there any specific tasks or responsibilities you would like to do more or less?
- Is there anything about your role that you find particularly challenging or frustrating?
- Are there any areas where you could improve?
- How can we work together to improve your performance?
- What are the short-term and long-term career goals you would like to accomplish?
- What other strengths or skills do you feel are not being utilized?
- What skills or knowledge do you think you need to improve to excel in your current role?
- Are there any training or development programs you would like to participate in to enhance your skills and knowledge?
- What feedback do you have for me as your line manager? How do you feel about the way I lead the team?
- What is one area of your work that you need more feedback or guidance on?
- How is everything going with the people you work with/on your team?
- What are some areas where you feel our team is excelling, and what are some areas where we could improve?
- What else is on your mind that you want to share?
How to Find the Ideal Frequency without Feeling Overwhelmed
How often should you schedule them? This is a question that many managers may wonder, and the truth is there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer.
A Harvard Business Review article on one-on-one meetings has three recommended frequency plans: weekly meetings for 30 minutes and bi-weekly meetings for 45-60 minutes. Depending on team size, member experience, and preference, you can also plan weekly or bi-weekly meetings. Weekly meetings are ideal for more junior team members and those new to the team, while bi-weekly meetings are better for larger teams or remote teams.
Whatever plan you choose, finding the ideal frequency that works for your team is crucial to strike the right balance between the needs of your team members and your own schedule. It's also important to avoid scheduling too many meetings that could become overbearing and counterproductive. In contrast, less frequent meetings could lead to a lack of engagement and touchpoints with your team members.
Overall, one-on-one meetings can be a powerful tool for managers to build stronger relationships, increase productivity, improve communication, enhance leadership skills, and identify development opportunities. You can create a more engaged, motivated, and successful team by prioritizing these meetings.