1:1 Meetings: Their Purpose & Benefits
I once heard that people leadership is both an art and a science…and I don’t think that could be more true when it comes to how leaders should conduct one-on-ones. There are, of course, tangible metrics we drive, such as outreach response rates, interview stage conversion percentages, days to hire, and acceptance rate. However, a far more important piece to driving high-performing teams lies in building strong relationships that encourage professional curiosity and a culture of growth and development.
In the past, I viewed the one-on-one as a progress update where my team notified me of specific work items. Now, I view it as a critical touchpoint to the success of an organization. Yes, it is important for me to understand my team’s performance against their targets, but it is SO much more than that.
I’ve come to find that the one-on-one is an opportunity for a leader to build a strong foundation with their team. This leads to a strong professional bond and enables them to understand their team’s professional (and oftentimes personal) goals. Really diving deep into what drives them and what they want to accomplish enables managers to more effectively push their team to hit their goals. This then leads to overall organizational success. The one-on-one should NEVER feel like an item on your to-do list, but look at it as a crucial moment in time and an opportunity to impact the trajectory of someone’s career.
As I’ve grown, I’ve come to center my one-on-ones around the employee and his or her goals instead of what I need and want. Understanding that the one-on-one is THEIR time and not mine was a big mental shift I had to make early on. If I always made it about me then the employee would grow to hate them (which I’ve first-hand experienced the effects of). It is imperative to focus the meeting around their successes and challenges, and how you, as their leader, can remove obstacles. This will drive further engagement and empower them to become an active participant in their (and, in turn, the company’s) growth. I’ve seen increased productivity as a direct result of this, as my team feels heard and valued.