One-on-one meetings are one of the most important tools you have in your arsenal as a leader. Sitting down with a member of your team has a powerful impact. Many leaders, however, shy away from this practice. They overlook this method because they’re unsure of how to use them, or intimidated by their employees. Other leaders may simply feel that they don’t have the time. This last excuse is especially dangerous. By believing you don’t have time to meet with your employees, you are subconsciously telling them that they are not important enough to warrant your time. If you want to start incorporating one-on-one meetings with your staff, the following are a few ways to begin. 

Don’t Just Talk About Work

Asking questions about your employee’s life outside of work is not a waste of time. This act shows that you have an interest in them and makes them feel more connected to their team and workplace. Some people are private and don’t want to share much about their lives, but if someone mentions something to you, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask about it again. This could be their family, hobbies, and more. 

Prioritize One-on-Ones

Don’t schedule your meetings for the end of the day when you’re low on energy and frustrated from eight hours of work. You want to set you, and your employees, up for success. Schedule meetings for when you know you’ll bring a good attitude and your best self. Your employees matter, and they deserve your attention and focus. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

When meeting one-on-one with an employee, put away anything that may distract you. Don’t have your phone out, and close your laptop. You can take notes on paper if need be. Avoid glancing at text messages or notifications. You should be fully present in order to take full advantage of these meetings. Your employee will likely recognize and appreciate your efforts. 

Remember, It’s Not About You

Don’t make your one-on-one meeting about you. Instead, use it to focus on helping your team members. Ask them to prepare questions or create an agenda. If they need, provide them with a template to use as they formulate their thoughts. You may also have things you’d like to discuss, which is fine. Just be sure to let your employee discuss what they need to before your bring up your items.

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