Thoughts on Business and Technology

The Power of Effective 1-1 Meetings: Characteristics of Good Managers

platform-Perform-Growth-conversations2xOne-on-one meetings between managers and their reports are a crucial component of effective communication and employee development. However, not all managers approach these meetings with the same level of dedication and focus. In this article, we will explore the characteristics of good managers who excel at conducting productive and meaningful 1-1 meetings, as well as the pitfalls to avoid for those who struggle to make the most of these interactions.

  1. Prioritizing the Critical Items: Good managers understand the importance of focusing on the most critical items on their reports’ minds during 1-1 meetings. They ask probing questions, actively listen, and provide coaching to help their employees overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
  2. Encouraging Employee-Centric Meetings: Good managers recognize that 1-1 meetings should primarily benefit the employee. They create an environment where the employee feels comfortable discussing their concerns, aspirations, and overall mission. These managers actively work to support their employees’ personal and professional growth.
  3. Giving Undivided Attention: During 1-1 meetings, good managers demonstrate their commitment by shutting out distractions and giving their full attention to the employee. They refrain from glancing at phones, checking emails, or engaging in other work-related activities. This undivided attention helps build trust and shows that the employee’s time and concerns are valued.
  4. Flexible Meeting Formats: Good managers understand that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for 1-1 meetings. They mix up the meeting formats, such as having walking meetings, in-person discussions, or even voice-only phone calls, depending on the situation and the employee’s preference. This adaptability ensures that the meetings remain engaging and comfortable for everyone involved.
  5. Caring Beyond Work Matters: Good managers recognize that employees have lives outside of work. They take the time to genuinely inquire about their well-being and show a genuine interest in their personal lives. By caring about what’s going on both in and out of the office, these managers build stronger relationships and foster a supportive work environment.
  6. Active Note-Taking: To demonstrate their commitment and show that they value the employee’s input, good managers take notes during 1-1 meetings. These notes serve as a reference for follow-up discussions and help the manager remember important details and commitments made during the meeting.
  7. Establishing Regular Meeting Times: Good managers understand the importance of consistency and set regular meeting times for 1-1s. They prioritize these meetings as standing commitments and choose optimal times, such as Tuesdays or Monday afternoons when employees are likely to be more alert and focused.
  8. Asking Open-Ended Questions: During 1-1 meetings, good managers ask open-ended questions that encourage employees to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas. Questions like “What’s on your mind?” and “What could be going better?” enable managers to uncover underlying issues, address them promptly, and offer assistance where needed.
  9. Celebrating Wins and Acknowledging Efforts: Good managers celebrate wins with their employees during 1-1 meetings. They express genuine appreciation and acknowledge the hard work put in by their reports. Recognizing achievements helps build motivation, fosters a positive work culture, and strengthens the manager-employee relationship.
  10. Discussing Employee Growth and Development: Good managers allocate time during 1-1 meetings to discuss employees’ professional growth, aspirations, and long-term goals. They openly address topics such as job satisfaction, career advancement, and ways in which they can support their employees’ development. By having these conversations, good managers demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ success.


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