Whether you call them employee meetings, 1-on-1s, or check-ins, meetings with just a manager and a team member all serve as one of the most powerful tools managers have to build a successful team. You may have already taken the initiative to host regular 1-on-1 meetings with your team, but with some extra preparation and strategies you can supercharge the effectiveness of your 1-on-1’s and increase the performance of your team.
1-on-1’s hold a wealth of opportunities to build relationships and foster a culture of open communication within your team. Being a successful manager means taking complete advantage of all the tools, resources, and time available to create the biggest impact on your team. Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, specifies even just “90 minutes of your time can enhance the quality of your subordinates work for two weeks”, making 1-on-1 meetings one of the highest leverage activities you can do as a manager.
Benefits of 1-on-1 meetings
During meetings, managers are better able to discover employee challenges, share information, mentor, and build a rapport with their team. Particularly when done on a consistent basis (weekly or bi-weekly), meetings encourage highly engaged and productive team members.
With a plan of action or an agenda, you can create a productive and thoughtful meeting atmosphere. Preparation and thought go a long way, making it possible to transform seemingly mundane, obligatory meetings into time well spent.
The following are 5 ways to make the most out of your 1-on-1 meetings every time.
#1 - Keep employee meetings regular
Since 1-on-1’s are the ideal way to communicate with your employees, it’s best to have these meetings on a regular basis. Holding meetings weekly or bi-weekly consistently sends the message to your employees that 1-on-1’s are a priority and should be taken seriously. This ensures that your employees’ feel that their time, energy and work are valued.
Having a consistent meeting schedule provides time to address any issues that arise during the week, and provides an opportunity to fix it before it becomes a larger problem. Regular meetings provide a great way to make sure there are no surprises for either party, and allows for adequate preparation for each meeting.
#2 - Come to the meeting prepared
When a meeting has an agenda or a plan, it’s easy to make the most out of the time spent together. Pre-creating discussion topics makes sure that everything required is covered. Coming prepared is the most important thing that a manager can do. Take the initiative to find out what they would like to discuss ahead of time. Even if you’re a new manager, familiarizing yourself with the happenings of the office provides many opportunities to become well versed and knowledgeable in your field.
#3 - Listen, then speak
Among their many benefits, meetings create ample opportunities to improve communication with your team. 1-on-1’s allow candid discussion of topics that are both relevant to your business and important to your employees that would otherwise not be vocalized. This highlights why active listening is such a crucial part of reinforcing healthy communication and making sure employees feel valued.
During your meetings, ensure you’re understanding the concerns or questions of your team. Listen intently to what they have to say, and seek clarification when needed. Take great care to show that you are interested in what they have to say. Active listening is a skill that needs practice, but is the most reliable way to prevent any miscommunication that could hinder team success in the future.
#4 - Make your meeting collaborative
Weekly 1-on-1 meetings are not simply a place for managers to delegate and unload information. While there is a time and place for that - collaborative meetings yield a much greater benefit to everyone involved. The tone of the meeting should set the precedent for teamwork beyond 1-on-1’s.
Encourage employees to engage in meetings by asking them to provide input about their projects and company strategies that affect them. Team members should feel like they have the floor to discuss anything of importance, while feeling confident that you are willing to listen.
#5 - Give positive feedback where appropriate
While it can be easy to tend towards correcting behaviors and providing constructive feedback - positive recognition is what reinforces motivation, company loyalty, and increases employee engagement.
Providing positive feedback in response to a job well done not only elevates mood, but makes your team feel appreciated for their efforts each week. Even a simple recognition for their help or great attitude goes a long way to empower your employees and keep them motivated.
All managers can enhance the productivity of their employee meetings. With consistency, consideration, and preparation, 1-on-1 meetings can be of enormous value for both the success of managers and employees looking to be more successful.
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your 1-on-1 meetings, consider trying simplteam to easily create useful meeting agendas, generate discussion topics, and execute meetings flawlessly every time.