A Simple Two-Step Method for Spectacular 1-1 Meetings

Most one-on-one meetings suck (if they happen at all).
Most managers are surprised when good people quit. 

Coincidence? I think not.

How confident are you that everyone on your team is: 

  • Crystal clear & aligned on what’s most important (and why)?
  • Not blocked?
  • Motivated?
  • Feeling optimistic & energized?

Each scenario above is enough to tank someone’s mood. Mood is contagious. A single bad mood can infect an entire team, and left unresolved, sour the entire workplace.

There are two simple steps that will transform your one-on-ones, and help you head off problems before they blindside you.

Step 1

Prevent disrespectful distractions by silencing your phone and email. A one-on-one meeting is a precious moment of connection. Connection requires full attention.  

Step 2

Ask open ended questions. Maximize listening.

  • How are you feeling?
  • What are you excited about?
  • What are you worried about?
  • Is there anything that continually frustrates you here?
  • What do you think could keep us from hitting our goal this month?
  • Can you think of anything we could do to keep that from happening?
  • Is there anything keeping you from doing your best work? 
  • Any ideas about how we can improve things here?
  • What do you think would make the team stronger?
  • If you were me, what would you change?
  • What can I do to help you or the team?

This is your chance to find out what’s REALLY going on. Put yourself in learn-mode. Let the other person do 90% of the talking. This is much easier said than done, but stick with it, because this skill is a game changer

Force yourself to communicate primarily through questions. Be patient. Embrace awkward silences. Try it and you’ll be amazed by what happens, the other person will fill the silence, with gold.

And dig deeper.

  • “Tell me more about that.”
  • “Can you give me an example?”

Odds are good your team members are used to you doing all the talking. Only by staying present and silent can you prove that you really care about what they have to say. It’ll feel weird at first, but then magic happens, the other person opens up—connection happens

You’ll learn things, game changing things. 

One-on-one meetings may feel low priority and time-consuming, but the upside potential is huge. Regular one-on-one meetings cultivate trust and help team member’s feel more connected to you, the company, and its mission. 

Want a high performance Dream Team? 

Step 1: Prioritize regular one-on-one meetings (that don’t suck). 


Cover photo by krakenimages

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