By Kevin Eikenberry
One of the most important habits leaders can create is having effective one on one meetings with each of their teammates on a regularly. While most know the value of these sessions, too few leaders have had good examples to follow in making them effective. Here is a simple three step process to help you prepare and lead more effective one on one meetings.
These steps assume one important point – that one on one meetings happen on a regular schedule. If they aren’t scheduled, they will have a lower priority in everyone’s mind, and when you do meet there will either be too much to talk about, or there will be no rhythm or flow to the meetings. Once you have decided to have one on ones and put them on the calendar, these other three steps will make them more effective.
- Prepare Continually. Keep a running list of things you might want to talk to your team member about. If something is urgent, you don’t need to save it for the one on one, but many items and updates can be held until that time. Along with any standing items that you know you will always discuss (like goals and specific projects), this running list will be the basis for your half of the conversation.
- Create Co-ownership. You will have more effective one on one meetings when you remember that the meeting is as important to the other person as it is to you. If you see this as your meeting, you will be robbing the other person, and will be less likely to have a committed participant in these meetings. Let them know that you want them to participate. Encourage them to keep a running list of things they want to talk to you about as well. Doing this will make the meetings more productive and meaningful.
- Start With The Other Person. The most tangible way to show that these meetings belong to both of you is to put the focus on them. Before getting to the work, ask them how they are doing. Check in with them, listen and acknowledge how they are doing. Then ask them to share the items on their list. By starting with them and their list you show through your actions that this meeting is their meeting as much as yours. Beyond that by having them go first it will keep you from doing as much of the talking – and often many of the items on your list will be crossed off as they go through their list.
If you will use these three steps you will have more effective one on one meetings, accomplishing important work and building your relationship each time you meet.