One-On-One Meetings – Why They’re Important to You and Your Team
Focusing on your team as a collective whole is important. After all, the team dynamic is one of collaboration for the sake of increased productivity and ingenuity. However, as a manager it is essential for you to also recognise that your team is made up of distinct and diverse individuals; individuals who require your time and attention to remain dedicated and motivated in their own tasks.
The importance of regular one-on-one meetings is something that is widely acknowledged as a necessary tool to ensure accountability and improve relationships between team members and leaders.
So, why is having a one-on-one meeting with team members so difficult to achieve?
There are many reasons why managers find the one-on-one meeting has slipped out of significance from the weekly or monthly schedule. For one, we can lead ourselves to believe that a weekly team meeting or a passing word in the hall is enough to be kept in the loop about what individual team members are feeling and thinking. Similarly, we can be under the impression that getting on with work as opposed to discussing individual experience is the imperative task for the day. While this may be the case for work output, in reality the interactions conducted with team members have a direct impact on at work happiness, output and productivity.
So, in the spirit of happier and more productive working relationships everywhere, we’ve looked into why one-on-one meetings are so important, and what you can do to make them a regular part of your professional life amongst your team.
Why they’re important:
- Keeps your team members engaged with clear communication
In a group situation such as a team meeting there is more opportunity for people to rely on other team members to carry the energy and interact with you directly. In a one-on-one situation, the focus in entirely on the individual team member, not the group dynamic.
By allowing the focus to be between the two people in the room, yourself and the team member, the engagement level automatically goes up and the potential to have a real and productive discussion also increases.
- Provides time for addressing issues
We are all feeling the pinch of needing to fit more into each day. By regularly setting aside 30 minutes with your individual team members, you are opening up this time to address any issues that may be affecting the team member’s productivity and general output.
By being dedicated to this process and putting in the time for the meeting, in reality you are saving yourself and your team members time in the long run by having a quality discussion one-on-one about the work they are completing and how your management is (positively or negatively) affecting their output.
- Helps strengthen relationship with team members
One-on-ones are a great way to connect individually with your team members outside of an official, day-to-day working capacity. Remember, you will not always have all the answers to the challenges you may be facing as a leader and manager. By strengthening your relationship with those in your team, you are more easily able to have a safe and open discussion with the individuals in your team about what you can do as a group to alleviate the situation.
Also keep in mind that some hard-working team members may be shy and uncomfortable in a group situation, but they will have more opportunity to open up in a one-on-one situation.
- Makes end-of-year performance review meetings much easier and ensures there are no surprises
In general, performance reviews are a 6-monthly or even a once a year occasion. Instead of waiting a long period of time to officially address discipline or work performance issues, one-on-one meetings assist to bring the issues to the forefront before they turn into bad habits. By addressing a potential minor issue before it becomes a serious one, you have prevented the behaviour from developing further, while also ensuring that the team member has a chance to provide information back to you regarding what may be preventing them from completing their tasks to the best of their ability.
Conversely, you are also able to provide more regular positive feedback and goals in a timely manner in a one-on-one setting.
- Ensures team members understand where they are travelling to
Given the opportunity to speak with you one-on-one allows team members to ask questions that they may feel they don’t have the time to ask throughout a regular working day. Regular one-on-ones allows this space for regular coaching and advice to form between you and the individual team members under your management. As a leader, this is a perfect opportunity for you to coach them to overcome a particular situation or to learn a new and vital skill.
- It lets the team member know they are part of a team
Allowing the time for your team members to speak to you individually lets them know that you care about their individual progress and experience at work. You are able to ascertain motivation levels, and learn more about what can be done to increase individual motivation levels. You can address the issues that may be affecting their private life, and how the workplace can better accommodate them within flexible working options. In the one-on-ones, you are allowing people to open up and address anything that may be affecting them, and let them know you are there for them as a manager and leader.
For over 40 years we have seen what effective teamwork can accomplish and why having an effective team will give you what you need to get ahead in any industry. Read through our free eBook on Understanding Effective Teamwork to learn more about what makes a good team great.