The one-on-one meeting is a unique and powerful device in the office. So much of our time at work is spent in group meetings, deciphering email chains, sending instant messages, or collaborating amongst other employees. When the time comes for two individuals to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation, it’s usually a time reserved for serious discussion.
For leadership, these meetings are especially crucial in building trust and a healthy relationship with your team. According to Quantum Workplace, 53% of employees say their relationship with their supervisor is a very important part of job satisfaction. For employees, the discussions in one-on-one meetings can lay the groundwork for any future success at a company.
Given the impact these meetings can have on workplace morale and culture, it’s especially important to take the necessary steps to make them as successful as possible. These are just a few of the ways that both parties involved can ensure a productive and impactful one-on-one meeting.
Plan Topics Ahead of Time
It can be easy to walk into a one-on-one meeting with the mindset of “winging it.” The problem is that this approach often reverts to safe answers or discussion points, which means that sometimes the important, uncomfortable can be missed. At least a week before the meeting, create a list of topics or questions that you want to be covered in the one-on-one. Be sure to prepare notes on any specific examples or projects you want to discuss, and don’t be afraid to talk about both the good and the bad.
Make Sure it is a Two-Way Conversation
This meeting is supposed to be a conversation, not a lecture or a rant. Make sure both parties involved are prepared to answer the same questions and to discuss specific points. What are some of your goals? What are some of your fears? Share your own before asking the other person involved in the meeting. The goal is to have an honest discussion that feels collaborative and communicative.
Discuss Topics That Wouldn’t Be Discussed in the Open
If the point can be made in an email, group meeting or amongst other colleagues, save it for those channels. The one-on-one should be a deeper, personal discussion that offers a safe space for honesty. This can be an awkward approach to your one-on-one meeting at first, but if both sides commit, it will result in a more informative discussion on how both can grow and make future work better.
Focus on Growth
“How can I use this discussion to make myself better?” That should be the ultimate question involved with any one-on-one discussion. If you’re a manager, ask about how you can be a better leader, or ask for one specific trait that needs to be worked on or improved. If you’re an employee, ask about what specific steps need to be taken for your career to reach the next level. By using growth as a lens for the discussion, both sides will feel motivated and more receptive to any feedback.
Nothing can derail all of the good done by a one-on-one meeting like not following up. In fact, 78% of people who did not write down goals or have follow up reports post one-on-one were less likely to achieve those goals. Make sure that key next steps are documented and available for both parties to review. Keep them on hand for future meetings so that both individuals can track any developments or achievements.
The one-on-one meeting is a powerful tool for building healthy working relationships and impacting a company’s overall culture. With the help of these tips, both individuals involved can ensure that these important meetings reach their full potential.