The Impact and Outcome of a One-On-One
What are one on ones?
Some people view one-on-ones as a time a manager meets with a team member to discuss their book of business or to share insight into a project they are currently working on. Other’s may consider a one-on-one as a time for a performance review.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders, the author of How to Invest Your Time Like Money, and the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training, says “they are how you show employees that you value them and care about them.”
One-on-one are used in a way to “catch up”. How is your life? This is the time to sit back and let the employee ask the manager questions. Its a special time to bond. The time could be used to discuss personal or professional goals, passion or career.
Why have One On Ones?
By building these relationships, you build better performance outcomes.
A great leader cares about an employee personally and professionally. Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor puts it this way, caring is being human. A leader will coach, mentor, guide, provide feedback, and assist them with their professional goals. They will never hold them back for personal gain.
As a great leader, who protects his team, removes road blocks, and fosters a great relationship will always get pay back in dividends. If you are a great leader, your team will protect you. They will do everything in their power to make you look good as a manager and will help out in a jam.
Real Life Example
A few months ago, I was working on an engagement. This growing company was on a hiring frenzy. Their current staff could not keep up with the work demand. They were already working nine to ten hours each day. It was the busiest time of the year for them.
I was having a conversation with their current supervisor. I asked her how often does she have one on ones with her staff. She said, twice a year. And what do you talk about? Mostly performance. Anything else? No.
Can I ask you a question? What can you tell me about Madeline (not her real name)? The information she provided was data facts — date of hire, position, she comes in late mostly, basic information. I asked her about Madeline’s goals. She had no idea about her career path, ambitions, or goals.
I spoke to Madeline. The remarks about her manager were not positive. She explained. During one of her meetings — Madeline and her manager, the phone rang. She picked up the phone while I sat for 5 minutes. Another incident, she begun texting while Madeline was talking. Her manager stood up and said, “can we discuss this another time?”
After interviewing the entire staff, there was a common tread. The manager had no interest in learning or caring about her team. Business as usually.
There are two inherent problems: 1) The manager does not respect the employee and #2) the manager has not build a relationship with its employees.
If an employee schedules 15 or 30 minutes of time on your schedule, you should give 100% of your time addressing the questions in the meeting without distraction.
At the end of our meeting, I asked the manager if she asked the staff if they would put in overtime, possibly on the weekend, to catch up on the backlog. She said, they would not come in. And she was right. They all said no.
I asked the entire department why they would not put in a little overtime. They all responded. We don’t care for her and she doesn’t care about us. Furthermore, if she cared about us, listen to our complaints, make some of the recommended system changes, take us out to lunch or even show any type of recognition, we all would have come in on our time off.
The Moral of the Story
One on One’s are important in building personal relationships. Talking shop all the time, is not the same as developing a personal and professional relationships. All managers should start building relationships. By building relationships, you produce better business results.
If you are considering one on ones consider the following:
- Block out standing weekly time on your calendar.
- Request a brief agenda that the employee would like to cover.
- Remove any distractions — silent cell phone or email notifications, They can be distracting.
- Compliment the employee for a job well done — great presentation or project.
- Ask open questions.
- Never cancel the appointment.
- Make sure you meet in an area that is private or possibly take a walk outdoors.
- Close the one on one with gratitude — Say Thank you! It’s amazing the impact of those 3 words have on a person.
As Elizabeth Grace Saunders once said “Don’t say something if it’s not genuine or doesn’t feel authentic to you, but if you can talk about something they’re doing well or say something like, ‘I appreciate and value what you’re doing, it’s powerful.”
Now go out there, and start building one on one meetings with your direct rapports. Once you do, the one on one’s will be the most valuable time spent each week.