How to get the best out of one on one meetings – The guide

For your work team to grow and become more competent, you have to manage it well. Good management includes excellent communication, and giving and receiving feedback is critical. One-on-one meetings allow each employee to interact with the manager and share their concerns, ideas, expectations, and needs. It also allows the manager to give feedback and make suggestions to improve results, congratulate, and encourage his employees.

What is one on one meetings?

One-on-one meetings are meetings where the manager and the employee engage in a one-to-one conversation. They are regular and reasonably courteous meetings. One-on-one meetings are the most important meetings between managers and employees because they involve a performance report and an open and direct conversation that includes both the manager and the employee.

Importance of one on one meeting

One on one meetings can seem like a formality or a waste of time for those who don’t know their importance. But in truth, these meetings are of great importance for the employee, the manager, and especially the company. Here are 3 reasons why you should practice one on one meetings.

One on one meetings strengthens your relationship with your employees

One on one meeting lets your employees know that their ideas and concerns are valued and taken into account. Employees will trust a manager who meets them regularly to talk to them face to face. Feeling considered is a fundamental human need for your employees to need to work in peace.

One on one meetings improve productivity

One of the primary benefits of one-on-one meetings is that they increase your team’s productivity and work quality. This is the most effective method to learn about the less accessible problems, solve them quickly, and save time. 

One on one meetings

One on one meetings facilitate feedback

Giving certain comments to employees in group meetings can be unpleasant. One-on-one meetings are the perfect opportunity to share your thoughts with your employees without embarrassing them. You can freely exchange your comments and claim improvements. You can also receive feedback from your employees.

3 misconceptions about one on one meetings

1. One-on-one meeting as an easy thing

Like everything, getting started with one on one meetings can be difficult. We must avoid thinking that it has to be necessarily simple. The means of approach can vary from one individual to another, and it takes time to adapt. In the beginning, small blunders and mistrust can make it very embarrassing or difficult. Still, by dint of practice, you get used to it.

2. The manager must be perfect

Some managers need to know everything and have an answer for everything, but that’s a terrible mistake. We receive from others as long as we give them. The manager does not have to know everything. Like everyone else, he remains a fallible being in search of perfection. Also, one on one meeting is also an opportunity for the manager to receive new ideas from his employees.

3. One on one meetings feed employees with illusions

Some argue that regular one-on-one meetings cause employees to develop unrealistic expectations. It is quite normal that employees have expectations. Whether their expectations are realistic or not, they must tell you about them. If you make your employees understand what is possible and what is not, it will not make you an enemy. On the contrary, this will allow them to be fixed on certain things and to better orient their expectations. Don’t think your employees are incapable of understanding you. Whatever your vision, it is through dialogues that they will understand and share it.

How to prepare for a one on one meetings 

Have an overview of the objective of the interview

If you have already had a meeting with the employee you are going to meet, brush through the things you have already discussed, and the agendas that still need to be covered. This will help you achieve your central objective for the meeting. You should also be aware of the progress of the employee’s work in question and note the important points that you need to discuss.

Prepare a few questions to ask to get your employees to collaborate.

It could be that what you do to help your employees is not necessarily what they need. It is, therefore, important that you encourage employees to reveal to you what they need to perform better, and only by asking questions will you get there. Some employees may be reluctant to reveal their thoughts to you, so you won’t know if you don’t ask the right questions.

Have the right mindset 

Remember, your role is to coach and support while ensuring your employees stay at the center of the conversation. The conversation should be flexible enough to accommodate topics that are a priority for both parties.

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How to conduct a one on one meeting

First of all, you should know that one on one meetings can also be done remotely between the manager and the employee. Eye contact is not the most important for a one on one meeting. Some tools can facilitate such meetings when working remotely. Happierco is an example of an easy to use tool that can help you conduct a one on one meeting effectively. The greater the distance between the two actors, the more attention must be paid. Here are some tips for running a one on one meeting effectively.

1. Listen Actively

Above all, a manager must know how to stay attentive and listen well. Paying attention to what your employee has to say provides you with information to work with and prevent mistakes. If you’re an extrovert, try to avoid the rush to react or contradict and practice sitting still and maintaining silence.

In a recent study, more than 40% of junior level employees said they are afraid to bring ideas or concerns to upper management. You need to make your team members feel comfortable speaking to you by giving them your attention and listening.
It is important that you also be interested in what is being said and not listen just to please. You should be interested in the other person’s point of view, and value your employee’s ideas and concerns.

2. Talk about the real topics

Courtesy shouldn’t make you forget the real reasons for your meeting. It is important to break the ice, but above all, do not forget the important points that must be addressed. You are prepared, and you have a plan to follow. Don’t get stuck on your schedule, stay open but always come back to the heart of the matter. This will prevent you from having several meetings on the same topics.

3. Stay in time

A meeting that is very long or overflows the time frame can become boring or exhausting for your collaborator. Go straight to the point, but be careful, don’t be in a hurry; you shouldn’t give the impression that the other is overwhelming you. The idea is to succeed in discussing the essential while remaining within the time frame. Good time management is very important.

4. Keep an open mind

The fact that you are a manager already influences your employees. Giving them the impression of imposing your opinions could limit them in their interventions. You need to be open-minded to allow your people to have a frank and productive discussion with you. There is no point in having one on one meetings if your employees cannot express themselves properly.

One on one meetings, where and when?

One on one meetings can be organized in the office as well as outside the office. It all depends on the topic of discussion and the place you deem appropriate for the discussion. Just keep in mind that the location is just as important as the discussion you are having with your coworker. If you are unsure of the location, you can leave the choice up to your employees.

The dates and times of meetings must be regular and known in advance to allow everyone to prepare. Above all, you should avoid postponing reruns after you have scheduled them because this could make your employees believe that you do not attach great importance to them.

Example of questions to ask in a one on one meeting session

For manager

  • Are there activities that other companies are doing for employees’ career development that you would like us to do?
  • What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
  • How is everything going today? Tell me about this last week?
  • What’s on your mind this week?
  • How is everything going with people you work with on your team?
  • When you think about yourself in two years, what comes to mind?
  • What are you committing to between now and the next time we meet?

For employee

  • Do you see any untapped potential in the work I’m doing? An area you think I could be pressing a bit harder in or exploring deeper?
  • What’s been frustrating or confusing about working with me?
  • How could I improve myself?
  • Where do you see the team or company a year from now, and what can I do to help make sure we achieve that vision?
  • What do you hope I can change by the next meeting?

For more examples, check out 50 interesting one on one meeting questions for managers and employees.

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