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Why bother with 1-1s?

There’s lots of advice out there on how to conduct good one-to-one meetings. But

what if you work in an organisation that doesn’t have a culture of having one-to-

one’s? Perhaps you don’t get one-to-one’s with your manager or maybe you’re not convinced about the benefits of having them.

With competing demands on your time as a senior leader it’s all too easy to de-

prioritise one-to-one meetings with your team in favour of diverting your time to

achieving important deadlines.

Spending time regularly with your team members on an individual basis is a great

way to get to know them and to build rapport and trust. Showing you care about their well-being and aspirations can increase their engagement and loyalty to the


If conducted regularly, they allow you to give and receive timely and specific

feedback on performance, progress and challenges. You can coach them on how to improve their skills, overcome obstacles and achieve their objectives.

One-to-ones enable you to align your team members with the vision and values of

the organization. You can communicate the expectations, priorities, and strategies

that guide your work and check their understanding of how the work they do

contributes to the bigger picture.

They foster a culture of learning and development. You can help your team members identify their strengths, interests, and aspirations. Spending time exploring what a person is good at is a great way to build confidence and motivation. You can also support them in pursuing their personal and professional growth opportunities.

In a recent coaching conversation, one of my clients recounted a fond experience of one-to-ones with their leader, where they would feel really fired up after having spent time in their meetings brainstorming solutions and action plans together. Building time and space for innovation and creativity is a great way to motivate and inspire your team members.

When you save your feedback on a team member's performance for infrequent,

formal performance reviews, you may be too late to be effective, which can be

demotivating. Without regular one-to-ones development opportunities might be

forgotten about and other workplace problems, such as team disputes, could go


Even when there's no discord between you and your team, if you don't meet

regularly, you may find yourselves depending on snatched conversations, or time-

consuming email conversations for updates. Everyone's productivity will likely suffer, and people may make mistakes because they're not getting the full picture.

One-to-one meetings, if done out of willingness not obligation, are not a waste of

time, but a valuable investment in your team’s success. By holding regular one-to-

one meetings with your team members, you can enhance their performance,

satisfaction, and retention, thus contributing to the wider team performance.

If this has got you re-thinking your approach to one-to-one meetings, you’ll probably be after some advice next on how to make them really successful. Make sure to stay tuned to a future blog for some top tips!


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