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Holding regular one-on-one meetings, with your workm8tes is one of the important things you can do as a leader to boost productivity.

You may be thinking “surely meeting as a team is best as it gets everyone on the same page efficiently?”

Team meetings are important to set work goals, communicate responsibilities and collaborate. But your team is made up of individuals who require your time and attention to remain motivated, engaged and performing well. It is near impossible to have meaningful conversations with more than a few people in a room.

Two smiling workers of differing ages
One-on-one meetings are a dedicated time for you and your direct reports to connect.

Regular meetings allow you to discuss their career aspirations, interests, and professional growth opportunities – making your workm8tes feel valued and connected to you and the workplace. As it is their meeting you should be doing 10% of the talking and 90% of the listening. Providing an uninterrupted time for them to ask questions, seek feedback, discuss projects, raise issues and importantly, for you to get to know one another on a personal level.

Connected workm8tes work harder, are more productive and are less likely to leave.

Key reasons to have 1:1 meetings
  1. A quick & simple way to check-in.

  2. Provides an opportunity for private discussion.

  3. Builds connection & keeps engagement.

  4. Improves performance.

  5. Provides time to explore and address issues.

  6. Opportunity for problem solving, feedback and growth.

  7. Makes performance discussions easier – as you have an established connection.

  8. Makes workers feel valued, cared for, and part of a team.

Do’s and Don’ts of 1:1 meetings

Do begin each meeting by sharing a win.

It creates positive energy.

Don't cancel, and or arrive late. It sends the message that your workm8te is not important.

Do notify your workm8te in advance if you plan to touch on professional development — as those conversations require reflection and prior thought.

Don't be rigid. While it’s wise to have an agenda, it’s also important to be flexible.

Do be curious. Listen to their concerns and provide feedback and ideas on how they might solve problems.

Don’t take over and tell them what to do.

Don't use it as a status update meeting.

Do just chat.

Get to know who they are outside of work.

Don't forget to say “thank you.”

It’s important to show your workm8te that you value them.

We’ve developed some tips to help you get the most out of these meetings.

Meeting with your m8tes matters

As a leader your goal is to show your commitment and support to your workers and workplace. Regularly checking-in (not checking on – which can be a form of micro-managing) with your workm8tes is essential to building strong working relationships, and high performing teams.

Regular, one-on-one meetings provides a time for workm8tes to raise matters with you that affect them, both work and personal.

Here are some tips to get the most out of these meetings:

1. Commit to a regular time

Do not cancel and do not be late.

Find a rhythm that works for both of you – it could be 15 minutes a week, or an hour a month. Do not to cancel these meetings. Doing so sends a poor message that you do not value them.

2. Be fully present

Turn off all distractions, email, phone and notifications and give them your full attention.

Getting distracted sends the message that they are not important.

Think about taking it outside.

Grab a coffee, go for a walk, or find a quiet private space to sit.

3. Start positive – share a win

Start the conversation by sharing a win – give a compliment on a recent achievement.

It doesn’t have to be big, but it does have to be genuine.

Say, “thanks for your hard work you have put in last week to reach that deadline”, or “just wanted to say, that was a great suggestion you made at the last toolbox meeting”.

Recognition is powerful – it makes us feel motivated and valued.

4. Set a simple agenda/prepare your discussion points

Before the meeting, both of you should jot down what you would like to discuss.

Don’t launch in and talk about your items first. Let your workm8te set the agenda, raise issues, seek clarification or chat about their role and what’s going on.

It is very important to not just talk about work. Be mindful of time, and make sure you always have some time just to chat and get to know one another.

To begin with it may be hard to know what to talk about.

Use the following areas and questions as a guide, keep it simple and focus on 3 or 4 areas:

  • Achievements and results: what’s been going well?”

  • Priorities: “what are the goals for the week/month/year?”

  • Roadblocks: “what’s not going well?”

  • Input: what do you need from me to help or move this issue forward?”

  • Feedback: “do you have any concerns…?”

  • Brainstorm: “how can we solve this problem? Do you have any ideas?”

  • Learnings: “what can we do differently next time?”

  • Opportunities: “what would you like to work on?”

  • Resources: “do you have the tools and training you need?”

5. End on a positive note

Finish the meeting on a positive note, just like you began. Don’t rush out.

Summarise the key points and any action items, and say something positive to close the conversation.

It doesn’t have to be gushing or long. But it has to be real.

For example, you could say “thank you”, “I appreciate and value what you are doing”, or “I look forward to hearing about what you catch on your fishing trip".

Want to know more about how to communicate with impact?

Take a look at the guides we've made for you from the supervisor's communication toolbelt.



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