10 Reasons One-on-One Employee Meetings Are Important

The Foundation Of Any Great Team Is The Manager Ability To Lead Motivating One-on-One Meetings With Staff To Help Guide & Support Their Goals

Whether you are a manager, director, vice president, or CEO of a company, you cannot and should not skip your personal meetings with your direct staff. If you do, you will miss out on a wealth of information and your opportunity to develop motivated employees and the next generation of leaders.

A One-on-One meeting is a way for a manager or team leader to stay connected to a team member and stay aligned with projects and goals. If the team member is struggling to overcome challenges, the manager can assist. It is also an excellent way for the team members to stay connected to their manager to understand their business priorities and decision-making processes. One-on-one sessions are motivational for the employee and important for the supervisor to stay up-to-date.

It all starts with a conversation.

10 Reasons One-on-One Meetings With Employees Are Important
10 Reasons One-on-One Meetings With Employees Are Important

1. The opportunity to speak directly with your employee.

If your only contact with a staff member is on the office floor or in the team meeting, you are missing out on the level of conversation and interaction you need to form a relationship. I am not talking about a deep and meaningful personal relationship; I am talking about a professional relationship with respect for the individual. Some topics cannot and should not be discussed in a multi-person setting.

2. You can connect on a personal level.

Never underestimate the importance of personal connection. You do not need to know what the person ate for breakfast, nor do you want to know how they contracted that sexually transmitted disease; somewhere in between is ideal. Too personal, and everyone thinks you are their best friend; too impersonal, everyone will not feel comfortable with you. Strike the right balance and personal connection, and you can build trust.

Never start a one on one meeting with business, ask them genuinely “how they are and how is the family?”  they are human too.

3. Get a feel for the current conflicts within the team.

Talking in a safe environment allows team members to express whether they are experiencing harassment or negative political infighting within the team. This can enable you to establish plans to start eradicating unprofessional behavior in the group.

4. You can get regular updates on their work.

You should ask for an update on their work but allow them to prioritize what they discuss. The question “What would you like to discuss?” is open-ended enough to allow them to share their updates. In your mind or on paper, you should know the critical activities they are working on, so if they have not covered them, ensure that you make time at the end of the meeting.

Perfect One-On-One Meeting: Agenda, Frequency & Duration

5. You can ask them to take on new challenges.set targets take on new challenges

Rather than force work upon someone in a team meeting, the respectful way is to talk about it one-on-one. You may think a particular employee is the right person with the right skills to take on a new challenge, but they may disagree. They might feel insecure or feel they do not have the right skills, or even think someone else on the team could do a better job.

6. You can ask them to help other struggling team members.

A great way to foster a winning team is to ask your high achievers to help other team members struggling with a task. It is almost like a mini promotion because the person feels they can help others succeed; it makes them feel needed and is highly motivational.

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7. You can iron out conflict in a private setting.

Not everyone stays happy and motivated all the time. Some people are downright miserable unless everything is going their way. One of the most exceptional people I have ever hired is a cantankerous Hungarian from Slovakia. He has a pinpoint intellect and wants to challenge every decision he disagrees with. That was why I hired him; I knew he would test my direction and always provide an alternative view. I knew I was on the right path if I won him over. Sometimes, we agreed to disagree, but if we disagreed strongly, the one-on-one meeting was the place to talk it out and resolve the issue.

8. You get to congratulate them on their successes.10 Reasons One-on-One Employee Meetings Are Important Leadership & Management Guides

Despite the number of times team members have told me of what they have overcome and the goal they have achieved, it never gets old. I love it. The fact I get to hear it from them personally enables me to congratulate them and enjoy their glow. The additional bonus is that I can mention it in the team meetings and congratulate them in a group setting, which is highly motivating for the employee and the team.

9. You can help them through any issues they have.

Almost nobody operates at top performance levels all the time. Some of your best people can struggle with specific issues they would never discuss in public, but it all comes out in a one-to-one. I worked with an exceptionally intellectually gifted person at Hewlett-Packard. He was so smart that he had to educate me for a couple of months to understand what he was talking about.

10 Reasons One-on-One Employee Meetings Are Important Leadership & Management Guides

His issue was talking in simple terms to simple people (like me and the rest of the planet). After spending so much time with him in one-on-one meetings, I finally started to understand what he said. This person, let’s call him Stephen, started a movement that led to a transformation in our outsourcing business worth over $300 million in savings, productivity improvement, and innovative thinking. I acted as his translator and his management advocate and defended him against senior management detractors, and together, we changed an organization of over 25,000 people.

10. You can coach them to success.

Some people need to know they are on the right track. Coaching is not to tell people what to do and how to do it; it is the art of helping people draw their conclusions and giving them constructive feedback on how to reach that conclusion. Giving people the time and helpful guidance to come to the right conclusion feeds their self-confidence. Also, by helping them during the decision-making and problem-solving process, you instill your personal and professional values in them. Always be respectful and help them get to that decision. Learn more about managing remote teams.

If you do it right, they will follow you and be your supporter. Why?  Because they know you support them, and you want them to be successful.

Barry D. Moore
Barry's 25 years of experience with Silicon Valley Corporations such as IBM, Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Hewlett Packard Enterprise & DXC Technology enables him to share his knowledge of succeeding in today's professional corporate environments and develop a great work life for yourself.