Three overlooked guidelines to successful one-to-ones

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Successful one-to-ones = Consistency, Planning and Scheduling

There are three guidelines to holding successful one-to-ones that every successful manager should keep in mind from the start.

  1. Do them. At all costs. Frankly, you’re not much of a manager if you don’t. And keep a regular schedule. Whether you know it or not, they’re the most important part of your day.
  2. Ease in. Managers with the best intentions go into one-to-ones with well-groomed agendas: goals, development, obstacles, recognition – bulleted to perfection. Invariably these conversations devolve into performance reviews. Take it easy. Don’t force the issues. Especially early in the process. Pressing subjects will naturally emerge. That’s when the discussion gains it’s true value.
  3. They’re greater than the sum of their parts. Try not to look at them as isolated events. They’re not. Each one-to-one is just a part of a long conversation. Never cancel them – even if there’s “nothing to talk about”. There’s tremendous value in individualized, personal-time spent with members of your team. As with everything, and perhaps more so with communication, practice makes perfect.

So, remember this: Employees are people too. Part of being the boss is managing the personal side of work. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove said that a single one-to-one will boost employee performance for weeks. So, do yourself a favor and get these on the books!

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