Give these meetings the attention they deserve so as to build rapport, increase engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. By Priya Prakasan
One-one-one meetings with direct reports can hugely impact productivity, morale and engagement. They are a powerful way to build rapport, gain employee and team insights and provide guidance. However, leaders often hurry through them without making the most of the time spent together. Here are some ways to ensure you’re doing them right.
1. Be personally invested
Do your homework before you step into a one-on-one meeting with an employee. This includes work details as well as a few personal details. Invest the time to find out more about your employee. Your conversation should show that you are personally invested in him/her and are sincerely interested in them. If you don’t make the effort to care, they won’t either. Start with conversational topics and then move on to the agenda set for the meeting. Apart from one-on-one meetings, try to spend time with your direct reports over a work lunch, include them in business trips or other informal meetings, interact at community events, and celebrate milestones with them.
2. Remember it’s not a performance review
One-on-one’s aren’t formal review meetings. They are a way for to the two of you to connect on important work and career issues, problems/roadblocks faced, cross-functional issues, guidance needed, etc. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about career development, give and receive feedback, and check in on their job satisfaction. Facilitated an open and candid atmosphere so that you both can be honest about the topics on hand.
3. Be fully present
At the meeting, get rid of any distractions and actively listen to what they have to say to show that you value this interaction. Resist the urge to check your emails or your phone during the meeting and give your full attention to the employee. This simple step of being present in the moment will make a huge difference in your interaction and the relationship you’re looking to build. One tips is to not have the meeting in the vicinity of your computer and to mute your phone so as to avoid obvious distractions.
4. Provide help/guidance
This meeting gives you the opportunity to find out the employee’s challenges and problems and other matters they might need guidance or help on. Ask leading questions to help the employee voice these concerns. Maybe you could ask them to list out the challenges and potential solutions well before the meeting. Then listen to what he/she has to say in the meeting so that you can gather as much information as possible about the issue. If they’ve provided solution options, consider them well and offer your constructive feedback. This way you’re going through the problem-solving process together, making it less daunting for the employee.
5. Guide them to self-reflect
Use the one-on-one meeting as an opportunity to use your experience to coach the employee. If there are issues and troubles you’re already aware of, ask them about the same and guide them to contemplate and self-reflect as to how they could handle them better. Self-reflection is essential for an employee’s professional and personal growth. So be the guiding influence that inspires them down the path.
6. Help them feel heard
The main agenda for your one-on-one meetings isn’t to delegate more work, but rather to build rapport, understand their needs, motivations, desires, career aspirations, team dynamics, and job satisfaction. Then provide the assistance they need. Make employees feel like you’ve actually heard and understood what they had to say in the meeting. It’s important for employees to feel that their leader cares and wants to understand and help them.
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