Regular team meetings are an important part of ensuring your team’s success and most leaders understand the benefit that team meetings bring. However, when it comes to meeting with team members one-on-one, often managers struggle to see the value. As a result, one-on-one meetings get de-prioritised for more urgent (or seemingly important) work.
Before you bump your next one-on-one meeting with staff, have a quick read about why one-on-one meetings are important. One-on-one meetings help:
1. Build trust and respect between you and your team member.
Trust and respect require a degree of familiarity. Regular one-on-one meetings help to develop that connection and provide a safe space for both parties to learn what makes the other tick.
2. Achieve clarity around your team member’s job role and what is expected of them.
Not all role descriptions are created equal, and often what is required evolves over time. Regular one-on-one meetings allow both parties to stay informed around what the role actual entails vs. what it might look like on paper.
3. Highlight skill-gaps and capability issues before they become a problem.
Having regular catchups means you can check in on how your team member is progressing and notice where they might need additional support. Catching any skill gaps or capability issues early, means you can make a plan for closing the gap before it becomes a problem.
4. Discover your team member’s work or career aspirations.
Knowing your team members work or career aspirations means you can support them in reaching those goals. It also means that you can create opportunities within your business, rather than losing them to someone else. If you don’t know where they want to head, you have no opportunity to craft opportunities that are win-win for both of you.
5. Keep your team member on track and accountable for performance.
Reviewing performance is not something that happens once a year—and if it is, then there is every chance things are way off track before you notice. One-on-one meetings provide an opportunity to check in with performance on a regular basis, so you can provide support and accountability as it’s required.
6. Provide a safe space for vital conversations.
If you’re only having one-on-one meetings when things aren’t going well, your team member will already be anxious when a meeting is called. However, if you are having one-on-one meetings regularly, you are creating a safe space to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly. This means that meetings are no longer associated with reprimand, but rather growth and learning.
7. Create space to receive feedback about your leadership and the organisation generally.
One-on-one meetings are a two-way conversation and provide an opportunity for your team member to share feedback that they feel is important. Without a regular meeting, feedback often remains unspoken, because team members aren’t sure when to bring it up.
It’s often difficult to see the benefits of one-on-one meetings in the short term. However, over time, the benefits become more visible. Lean in. Trust the process. It’s worth it in the long run.