One of the effective modes of communication between employees and their managers is 1-on-1 communication. These interactions are not just weekly meetings, but when done right it helps two individuals to connect to achieve a broader organizational goal.

However, if you appear for a 1-on-1 meeting in an unstructured way, little could be achieved out of these meetings. During this trying time of the pandemic when most businesses are operating remotely and social distancing is the new norm, 1-on-1 meetings have become one of the most crucial tools between managers and employees to connect especially when they are not present physically in the office premises.

To help you ensure that you achieve the most out of your 1-on-1 meetings, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

Foundations of 1-on-1 meetings: The Do’s

  1. A great manager needs to be a great coach too who knows the right solution based and open-ended questions to ask. Prepare yourself with the set of right questions to ask before going for a 1-on-1 meeting with your team members. It is important to ask the right questions and solution-focused questions to motivate the employee and create new mental maps that encourage changes.
  2. 1-on-1 meetings are not meant to track progress on projects or just take status updates. 1-on-1 meetings should go beyond it and open up the scope for real, raw, and difficult conversations. Remember, it is an opportunity to connect and know each other well. Focus on building relationships because when you do that it is possible to make a positive impact on their mind.
  3. Pause for a moment and spend some time on self-reflection before going for your 1-on-1 meeting. Look and think forward, take time to plan for the most pressing issues. Self-reflection also allows gauging if you both are on the right alignment.
  4. Remember a 1-on-1 meeting is meant for a collaborative connection. It should be aimed in such a way where both the manager and employee should be willing to take ownership. Encourage dialogue and an open discussion instead of a monologue where the employee just takes orders from the managers.
  5. Remember to have an agenda in place. Ensure that you just don’t wing it because that communicates a negative message. It shows that you do not care about the other person’s time.
  6. Shed light about how the business is doing, areas where it is doing well, and where more work is needed. Chalk out a plan on how the employee and the team can pitch in. This will ensure to boost the morale of the employee and work in a collaborative environment.
  7. Provide insightful feedback and throw light on current performance along with developmental goals. 

Here are Some Quick Tips to Break Down the Monotony of the 1-on-1 Meetings.

  1. A 1-on-1 meeting need not be boring and monotonous. Remember, an insightful meeting can happen even without an office space. 
  2. You may want to take out your team members for breakfast or coffee to have informal catch-up. Interestingly, many employees feel comfortable to open up when they are not bound within the office space. This helps to connect well and make the most out of your 1-on-1 meeting.

Here is Some Don’ts to Remember to Help your 1-on-1 Effective Discussions.

  1. Don’t wing it. Go for the meeting with an agenda in place. 
  2. Don’t just hear, ignore, and move on. If you do not agree to a point, speak it up and work towards a solution. Ignoring and moving on sends strong negative messages that you don’t care about the other person’s thoughts and feelings.
  3. Do not start your 1-on-1 meetings straight away with delegating tasks. Dictating what people should do is old school management. Ask questions instead to bring out as much information as you can on the table and then work collaboratively towards a common goal.
  4. Do not confront your team member who might have received a poor review or have not met expectations in the recent past. Instead of saying “you made a terrible mistake” or “you received a really bad review” try saying “I want you to improve in this area in the next assignment”. Be constructive in your feedback as much as you can. Ensure to choose your words carefully. Remember, you are not here to make your employee feel miserable, rather motivate them to perform better. 

Wrapping Up

Most of us communicate in our workplaces in an autopilot mode without putting in a lot of thought and conscious efforts. 1-on-1 meetings are the best ways to put in our thoughts and efforts to communicate better and work on building professional relationships. If you have always struggled with conducting an effective 1-on-1 meeting, the pointers discussed above will help to prepare you better for your next 1-on-1 meeting.