How to Make Your One-on-Ones with Employees More Productive

How to Make Your One-on-Ones with Employees More Productive

These meetings are best when you and your colleague are in “co-creative mode,” she says

One-on-one meetings with direct reports often feel more hurried and disorganized than they need to be. It’s important to check in regularly with each of your employees, but how can you make the best use of the time? How can you make the meetings more productive and collaborative? What do you need to change as the manager and what do you need to ask your direct report to do differently as well?

But workday pressures and time constraints often get the better of us

What the Experts Say In the digital age, we tend to communicate with direct reports via email, IM, phone, and text. But nothing quite beats a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting, says Elizabeth Grace Saunders , the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, and the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training . “One-on-ones are one of the most important productivity tools you have as a manager,” she says. “They are where you can ask strategic questions such as, are we focused on the right things? And from a rapport point of view, they are how you show employees that you value them and care about them.” In light of this dual purpose, running an effective one-on-one meeting “requires real cognitive agility,” says Margaret Moore , CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation and co-author of Organize Your Emotions, Optimize Your Life . Your goal is to show your “commitment to helping your colleague develop and grow,” but also to “step back, remember the organizational mandate, and think about how best you can work side-by-side with this person to get things done.” Here are some tips to get the most out of these meetings.

Block regular time in your schedules The frequency with which you have one-on-ones will vary depending on the size of your team, how big or small your organization is, how high-maintenance or experienced your employees are, and where you happen to sit in the org chart, says Saunders. It doesn’t necessarily matter how often they occur, but it is important “that you schedule them on your calendar as a repeating event,” she adds. This is for your own good – when employees know they have a standing meeting, they are less likely to barrage you with a “constant stream of interruptions.” Experiment with frequency until you find the right rhythm. A few other logistical matters: one, show up on time. “If you arrive 10 minutes late to a 20-minute meeting, that’s frustrating to your employee,” says Saunders. Two, don’t cancel at the last minute. “That sends the exact opposite of the message that you’re trying to communicate.”

Prepare discussion points “In an ideal world, you and your colleague would collaborate on an agenda ahead of time,” says Saunders. A more realistic goal may be to jot down a list of bullet points that you’d like to discuss. Ask your direct report to do the same. Once you’re face-to-face, Saunders recommends comparing lists and doing some “loose timeboxing” to make sure you have time to cover the most pressing points. “You need to set expectations around what’s most important and create an incentive to focus,” she says. “If the conversation diverges, it’s your responsibility to get it back on track.” That said, it’s also important to be flexible, says Moore https://besthookupwebsites.org/adventist-dating/. In other words, you need some structure but not too much. Decide together what you’ll reasonably accomplish in the time allotted: Are there items that can be tabled for another time?

Be fully present When it’s time for the one-on-one, you need to “shift gears and get out of autopilot,” says Moore. Don’t think of the meeting as just another item on your to-do list; instead, consider it a “precious moment of connection. Think, ‘I’m here to make a difference in the life of this person.’” Devote your full attention to your employee. Turn off your phone, and mute your computer so as not to risk being distracted by pings or rings. “It’s so easy to send a message inadvertently that you don’t care about the other person and that whatever is on your phone is more important,” says Moore.

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