I believe 1×1 meetings are all about the growth of the team member. Work topics only come up at the expense of identifying strengths and weaknesses. In short, I think using 1x1s to catch up on work responsibilities is a waste of time. I discuss work issues during tactical meetings.
I’m no expert on one on ones but here are some of my uses.
The more we connect at a personal level with the associate the more influence we’ll have to help them grow.
I use this time to get to know the individual. What they like/dislike, their passions, their family/hobbies, their strengths and weaknesses. The more I know, the easier for me to build trust; and with it, anything is possible.
This is the best opportunity for the individual and I to have an honest conversation about our expectations and disappointments. This heart to heart conversation depends on the how good we are at connecting.
To me there’s no better path to full engagement than being comfortable to talk about anything with the people I lead. It makes works and performance discussion so much easier to handle.
I show my caring by helping my staff grow. It goes from discussing personal and professional development goals to providing guidance on specific problems the person may be dealing with.
This is time for me to help share wisdom, provide a listening ear, or improve thinking capacity with challenging questions.
A Few Things To Note
Expect one-on-ones to be awkward and uncomfortable in the beginning. Discussing the topics mentioned above needs a certain amount of trust between you and the team member. It takes time to build trust.
Silence is totally fine. One-on-ones are filled with challenging questions that need thinking time. Don’t try to fill in every single second with noise.
Postpone, never cancel. There are no excuses for cancelling this meeting. If you allow work to get in the way, when will there be time to build a relationship with the staff?
Let me know if you’d like me to expand on this concepts.