Archive for the ‘one-on-ones’ category

One-On-One Meetings Are Important-Not Urgent

November 30, 2017

In 1994, Stephen Covey, along with A. Roger and Rebecca Merrill, introduced the four-quadrant importance and urgency matrix in their book First Things First.  In the book, Covey describes a framework for differentiating tasks that have long-term benefits (important-not urgent) from daily, more time-sensitive tasks (important-urgent). Without a concerted focus, the important-not urgent tasks are often neglected until they become important-urgent.

Regular (weekly or biweekly) one-on-one meetings between leaders and their direct reports fall into the important-not urgent category, but are often forsaken by leaders because they are too busy dealing with the important-urgent.  It’s in the one-on-one meetings that important-not urgent topics are discussed and dealt with before they become urgent.

During our leadership training sessions, we ask leaders to raise their hand if they’d like weekly one-on-one meetings with their boss (or would have liked them when they had a boss).  Nearly everyone in the room raises their hand (who wouldn’t want regular non-pressured meetings with their boss?).  We then ask the leaders to lower their hand if they conduct these meetings for their direct reports. Sadly, most leaders do not lower their hand.  Why is it that direct reports are willing to invest in the important-not urgent but bosses are not?

Empowered leaders conduct regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports, and experience less important-urgent issues and more success.

Use One-On-One Time To Strengthen Relationships

September 23, 2016

It’s a fact that humans are more likely to extend themselves for another human if there is a relationship between them.  Strong relationships inspire people to go out of their way for others.

An effective relationship between a leader and their direct report contributes to everyone’s success.  The best way to work on this relationship is during regular one-on-one meetings.

Leaders should sincerely ask about their direct report’s family by name, inquire about their hobbies and interests, and even know about their pets.  Leaders who care about their direct report’s lives outside of work will get them to move mountains for them at work.

Leaders who get to know their direct reports and empower them experience more success.

Create Trust With Weekly One-On-One Meetings

May 6, 2016

One-on-one meetings are all about the relationship between the leader and direct report and designed to empower success both in a direct and indirect manner.  Directly, the leader and direct report both have an opportunity to discuss progress against goals and success factors.  Indirectly, one-on-ones establish trust so when issues arise, obstacles are identified, or additional resources are needed, the venue exists for the direct report to communicate in a safe environment.

If leaders aren’t sure how to begin the meeting before getting into review of projects and on-going success factors, they should ask the direct report how they spent the weekend.  Is the week off to a good start?  Does the family have big plans for the upcoming weekend?

Over time, leaders showing they are human by discussing normal life activities will allow the direct report to open up about real issues that could impact success.

Creating trust through one-on-ones empowers the direct report to succeed by creating open communications.

Conducting Regular One-On-One Meetings Will Save Time

September 11, 2015

Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings between a leader and direct report are by far the most effective way to accelerate performance.  So, why is this effective performance acceleration technique ignored?

The biggest reason leaders give for not conducting regular one-on-one meetings is they don’t have enough time.  Leaders should conduct weekly 30-minute meetings with each of their direct reports.  A leader with six direct reports would need to allocate three hours per week.

How does investing in regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings save time for leaders?

  • Both the direct report and leader save minor discussion topics for this meeting rather than interrupting each other continuously throughout the week.
  • Minor issues are addressed before they become full-fledged, time-consuming problems.
  • Leader’s tasks can be delegated in a venue allowing much easier follow-up.

Skeptical leaders should try conducting one-on-ones with one of their direct reports for six weeks; they’ll find they have more time, a better relationship, and a very disappointed direct report should they stop the meetings.

Leaders who use one-on-one meetings to empower direct reports experience more success and have more time.

Use One-On-One Documentation For Performance Reviews

July 31, 2015

Regular one-on-one meetings with their direct reports is the most effective leadership tool available to leaders.  We recommend having these sessions at least bi-weekly and every week if possible.

 The leader should take careful notes during and after each session, including:

  • Did the direct report accomplish what they said they were going to?
  • What are they planning to accomplish by next meeting?
  • How did the direct report handle obstacles?
  • How are their development plans coming along?

If leaders have their one-on-one sessions documented, conducting performance reviews requires little preparation as most of the work is already done.  Simply review all the notes and discuss the outcomes with the direct report.  There should be no surprises and you’ll both benefit from a focus for the whole time period, not just the last few weeks each remembers.  Nothing new should be discussed.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate or formal; just a simple review of performance over a period of time.  We suggest leaders conduct these sessions quarterly and even annually in lieu of formal performance appraisals.

Leaders who empower their direct reports to meet with them regularly in one-on-one meetings, document the conversations, and use the documentation for performance reviews experience more success.

How Well Do You Know Your Direct Reports?

November 7, 2014

It’s an established fact that people who have personal relationships have greater trust and are more willing to extend themselves for each other than those who have lesser relationships.  It should stand to reason then that leaders who want extra efforts from their direct reports will want to have stronger personal relationships.

How well do you know your direct reports?  Can you answer these questions about each of your direct reports?

  • What is the name of their spouse or significant other?
  • What are their hobbies or interests?
  • What are the names and ages of their children or grandchildren?
  • What is the breed and name of their pet?

Leaders don’t need to be overly personal with their direct reports but they should know a little about them.  A personal relationship can come from casual water cooler type conversations.  Regularly scheduled weekly one-on-one meetings are a great way to develop this relationship.  In our experience, there is no more important leadership technique than one-on-ones.

Empower your team to participate in regular one-on-ones and you’ll develop a deeper personal relationship which will lead to more success.