A transparent and strong professional relationship between a manager and his direct report is the key to good engagement levels, better productivity and increased morale at work. Like they say, employees don’t quit jobs, they quit their managers. Especially managers who do not contribute to the growth and learning of their direct reports.
To ensure a good relationship between employees and their managers, it is imperative to have a free flowing system of communication between them. A manager should be the one who guides his employees, coaches them to choose the best journeys for themselves and also occasionally checks up how they are doing.
1 on 1s are recurring meetings between a manager and their direct reports. These meetings are a very crucial cog in the wheel of performance management. The way 1 on 1s are conducted can have a massive impact on the quality of an organisation’s performance management process.
A 1 on 1 between a manager & his reportee is not just a status update or performance related conversation, it goes way beyond it. It should be an avenue where the manager and the report work together to create better alignment to goals, productivity, motivation and growth.
1 on 1s should also be a space where managers offer the psychological safety to reportees to voice their concerns and put forth their ideas with confidence. These conversations can also go beyond work, where the manager can help his reportee navigate any kind of problem they might be facing.
Effective 1 on 1s can have several direct and indirect benefits. It lays a great foundation for managers to know their team on a professional and personal levels.
Builds better work relationships. Good relationships between people at work is a prerequisite for setting the tone for a great culture. People need to like and respect each other to be able to work together and achieve goals 1 on 1s are a way to uncover what motivates each employee, what are their career aspira- tions and how a manager can contribute in making them achieve the goals they want.
Seeing a manager take deep interest in the growth of an employee sets the tone for mutual trust, respect and commitment to the organisational goals. These are essential virtues to have for an overall increase in productivity levels, motivation and engagement.
A 1 on 1 meeting needs to have a recurring schedule. perhaps once every week for a duration of about 10-20 minutes. Having ad-hoc 1 on 1s will make it look trivial and no one will be prepared for it. Setting a schedule makes it a part of a normal work week, where both the manager and the direct report are informed well in advance about the meeting.
This helps them prepare for it mentally and also jot down things they can talk about setting a recurring schedule also makes the possibility of opening up higher than usual eventually more likely if there is a meeting every week and the right rapport is established the quality of the conversations will definitely improve with time.
Set a timer to your weekly 1 on 1s. Do not make it more than 30 minutes. Set the agenda for the meeting for points you would like to cover in that time. With important topics there is a chance of an extension and that’s fine within a 1 on 1.
1 on 1 are meetings where a manager needs to ask probing questions to the employees. Typical ways to kick off these meetings is by asking “How’s everything going?”
Open ended questions like these really set the tone and managers must make notes of what the employee is trying to communicate, collect feedback and do everything in their capacity to help the direct reporter get the answers he needs
Listening is one of the most underrated communication skills and a must have one for a manager. Employees dread 1 on 1 meetings which become one sided with the manager talking throughout. In effective 1 on 1s, managers listen way more than they speak.