The Magic Wand of Management: 1–on-1 Discussions

Communication has become one of the weakest part of organizations today. Many managers don’t know the importance of a 1-on-1 discussion to the development of their employees, and to the growth of their companies.

Focus is always on the customers, than the individuals and the team.

You can make a difference by conducting a structured 1-on-1 sessions with each of your team members. Either weekly or bi-weekly, for at least 30 minutes per session, you can discuss anything from their work engagement to work-life balance.

As easy as that may sound, it will be difficult at first. Some employees may understandably not feel comfortable sharing things with you. Some will oppose the session, but remember how important it is to them. What you will gain is far greater than what you will lose; that’s if you lose anything.

I have compiled the main reason 1-on-1 sessions are important for the wellness of your employees and company at large.

“You spend so much time finding great people, it’s worth it to help them grow to be the best they can be” – Justin Rosenstein, Co-founder of Asana

Employee development

A session is conducted around a list of questions you have prepared, related to the employee work and feeling. This allows you to understand at what level they stand. During the session, you get to identify so many things with the employee.

For example, when you identify an employee who is good with handling customers but not skilled, you can create or introduce programs that can help nurture and sharpen their customer service skills. You will know exactly how their learning and development process evolves according to your own expectation.

Manager Improvement

1-on-1 session is 90% about the employee but it helps in improving the manager too.

With the right questions, you know what your employees think about your role and responsibilities. Discuss on issues related to how you work and its effects on them. The response will show their expectation from you and what needs improvement.

Resolve and Prevent Problems

1-on-1 sessions give you an opportunity to know the challenges or issues faced by your employees. You learn about their ideas, the problems they face and reasons of these problems.

The information you get is what will be used to resolve, or avoid reoccurrence of these issues. This way, the company structure and management style gets better.

“In a coaching role, you ask the questions and rely more on your staff, who become the experts, to provide the information.” — Byron and Catherine Pulsifer

Build Trust

Trust is one of the most important asset of an effective manager. You can build trust by being clear on roles, responsibilities, performance expectations, and committing to them.

The moment your employees know your expectations through a regular 1-on-1 session, they begin to open and trust you and your management style.

Build a Relationship

1-on-1 is recommended to be a structured conversation. But starting with a few minutes of non-work related talks makes the session relaxing.

Have a regular open-minded session with your employees, discuss on how things are going, both at the workplace and outside it.

The more you get to know about your employees, the more you get closer, and the deeper your understanding of their perspective.

The importance of 1-on-1 is beneficial to both the employees and the company. Compiled in the infographic below are the results of a survey carried out within companies.

“I feel that a one-on-one should last an hour at minimum. Anything less, in my experience, tends to make the subordinate confine himself to simple things that can be handled quickly.” –Andy Grove, former CEO and Co-founder of Intel.

Giveaway Tips

  • If you must cancel, both parties must know why it was canceled and make plans for rescheduling. Canceling a session must be genuine and must be agreed upon by both parties involved.
  • Avoid discussing the employees’ status updates, it should be done on a later period. If they must be discussed, it should be on a mild level.
  • Follow up on the decision made after each 1-on-1 session. This will keep you posted on the employee performance development.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a simple tool that can make 1-on-1 sessions effective for you and your employees, with Happierco, you’re in the right place.


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