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To Better One-on-One
Meetings With Your
Direct Reports
10	Tips
Great managers like you know that one-
on-ones are vital for employees to be
successful.
But how can you make the most of
these meetings?
Why Have Them?
One-on-ones have three purposes:
1. Relationship building
2. Offering support
3. Team alignment
Here are 10 expert tips to have
meaningful one-on-ones…
A cancelled one-on-one can lead to:
Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em
A flooded inbox. Emails back and forth are inefficient and
can end up costing managers even more time than
meeting face to face.
1.
A cancelled one-on-one can lead to:
Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em
Lingering employees outside your door. When emails go
unanswered, employees will wait to ambush you during
your walk to the bathroom. And that’s not productive for
either of you.
2.
A cancelled one-on-one can lead to:
Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em
The employee moving forward without adequate guidance.
This can lead to a mess that has to be cleaned up later –
leading to more wasted time.
3.
But most importantly when you cancel, you are sending the
message that the employee is not a priority, which can
deteriorate the relationship and team morale.
Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em
Request updates on action items before the
meeting.
This way the meeting can be spent on resolving
issues, instead of getting up to speed.
Tip #2: Come Prepared
When employees set the agenda they will
reflect on their progress, their challenges,
and how they’re feeling. As a result, they
will come more prepared to the meeting.
Tip #3: Let The Employee Set
The Agenda
Be direct and ask ahead of time,
“How are you feeling?”
Some employees will open up and share, but others may
be more reluctant. Gently probing questions will help you
get to the heart of the matter.
Tip #4: Listen, Then Speak
Questions To Ask
“What challenges are
you facing?"
“Is there anything you need
from me?”
“How are you feeling
about your workload?"
“Anything in your work
that’s less than
stellar/causing frustration
or delays?
Bonus Download: Get 70 employee questions in a PDF!
15five.com/blog/employee-feedback-questions-ebook/
A one-on-one meeting is not a status update meeting.
It’s a discussion to make sure the employee is happy,
productive, and to uncover personal and professional
challenges.
Tip #5: It’s Not a Status Update
A regular cadence ensures that you
always have the pulse of your team.
This will create open and regular communication, which builds
trust between the you and your employees.
Tip #6: Schedule It Weekly
or Bi-weekly
Set the container for each meeting so that people can show up
with their best thinking. That way, what you discuss will lead
to high performance.
Tip #7: Create The Space
Tip #7: Create The Space
“Be aware of, and responsible for, your
impact. Hold [the employee] as
magnificent. Intend for them to shine. And
they will step into that.”
- Anese Cavanaugh, Author of Contagious Culture
Occasionally, get outside and do your one-on-
ones while walking.
Tip #8: Go For A Walk
Walking improves your
mood and ability to
handle stress at work.
It also makes it
easier to discuss
tough topics.
Take notes about the discussion points and action plan.
Refer to your notes from the previous meeting before the
next one-on-one.
If there is action to be taken after the meeting, do it
immediately or list out a clear path.
Tip #9: Wrap-Up & Document
All one-on-ones are different, and you should do what
works best for you and your employee.
A manageable one-on-one is 30 minutes each week, or 45
minutes bi-weekly.
Tip #10: Manage The Time
A 45-minute meeting structure to follow is:
Tip #10: Manage The Time
• 15	minutes:	Topics	from	your	employee’s	agenda
• 15	minutes:	Provide	feedback	and	discuss	solutions
• 10	minutes:	Discuss	progress	towards	goals and	long-term	concerns	
• 5	minutes:	Wrap	up	and	next	steps
The Great eBook of Employee Questions
Questions	you	need	to	be	asking	your	
employees.	Used	by	thought	leaders,	
entrepreneurs,	and	15Five	customers	
to	create	success	with	their	teams.
70
Free Download at:
15five.com/blog/employee-feedback-
questions-ebook/

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10 Tips For Better One on One Meetings

  • 1. To Better One-on-One Meetings With Your Direct Reports 10 Tips
  • 2. Great managers like you know that one- on-ones are vital for employees to be successful. But how can you make the most of these meetings?
  • 3. Why Have Them? One-on-ones have three purposes: 1. Relationship building 2. Offering support 3. Team alignment
  • 4. Here are 10 expert tips to have meaningful one-on-ones…
  • 5. A cancelled one-on-one can lead to: Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em A flooded inbox. Emails back and forth are inefficient and can end up costing managers even more time than meeting face to face. 1.
  • 6. A cancelled one-on-one can lead to: Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em Lingering employees outside your door. When emails go unanswered, employees will wait to ambush you during your walk to the bathroom. And that’s not productive for either of you. 2.
  • 7. A cancelled one-on-one can lead to: Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em The employee moving forward without adequate guidance. This can lead to a mess that has to be cleaned up later – leading to more wasted time. 3.
  • 8. But most importantly when you cancel, you are sending the message that the employee is not a priority, which can deteriorate the relationship and team morale. Tip #1: Don’t Skip ‘Em
  • 9. Request updates on action items before the meeting. This way the meeting can be spent on resolving issues, instead of getting up to speed. Tip #2: Come Prepared
  • 10. When employees set the agenda they will reflect on their progress, their challenges, and how they’re feeling. As a result, they will come more prepared to the meeting. Tip #3: Let The Employee Set The Agenda
  • 11. Be direct and ask ahead of time, “How are you feeling?” Some employees will open up and share, but others may be more reluctant. Gently probing questions will help you get to the heart of the matter. Tip #4: Listen, Then Speak
  • 12. Questions To Ask “What challenges are you facing?" “Is there anything you need from me?” “How are you feeling about your workload?" “Anything in your work that’s less than stellar/causing frustration or delays? Bonus Download: Get 70 employee questions in a PDF! 15five.com/blog/employee-feedback-questions-ebook/
  • 13. A one-on-one meeting is not a status update meeting. It’s a discussion to make sure the employee is happy, productive, and to uncover personal and professional challenges. Tip #5: It’s Not a Status Update
  • 14. A regular cadence ensures that you always have the pulse of your team. This will create open and regular communication, which builds trust between the you and your employees. Tip #6: Schedule It Weekly or Bi-weekly
  • 15. Set the container for each meeting so that people can show up with their best thinking. That way, what you discuss will lead to high performance. Tip #7: Create The Space
  • 16. Tip #7: Create The Space “Be aware of, and responsible for, your impact. Hold [the employee] as magnificent. Intend for them to shine. And they will step into that.” - Anese Cavanaugh, Author of Contagious Culture
  • 17. Occasionally, get outside and do your one-on- ones while walking. Tip #8: Go For A Walk Walking improves your mood and ability to handle stress at work. It also makes it easier to discuss tough topics.
  • 18. Take notes about the discussion points and action plan. Refer to your notes from the previous meeting before the next one-on-one. If there is action to be taken after the meeting, do it immediately or list out a clear path. Tip #9: Wrap-Up & Document
  • 19. All one-on-ones are different, and you should do what works best for you and your employee. A manageable one-on-one is 30 minutes each week, or 45 minutes bi-weekly. Tip #10: Manage The Time
  • 20. A 45-minute meeting structure to follow is: Tip #10: Manage The Time • 15 minutes: Topics from your employee’s agenda • 15 minutes: Provide feedback and discuss solutions • 10 minutes: Discuss progress towards goals and long-term concerns • 5 minutes: Wrap up and next steps
  • 21. The Great eBook of Employee Questions Questions you need to be asking your employees. Used by thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and 15Five customers to create success with their teams. 70 Free Download at: 15five.com/blog/employee-feedback- questions-ebook/