The secret power of one-on-ones
I’ve learned that great leaders typically prefer one-on-one time with their team members to conventional group meetings. In fact, one of the most successful leaders I know almost never attends a group meeting.
In analyzing my own style over the years, I notice that I, too, have steadily moved toward spending more time with my staff one-on-one. I still have group meetings, they are just less frequent, far better organized, and much shorter. This evolution has coincided with my journey to becoming a better leader, measured by improved retention, better business results, and reduced stress for me and my team,
Research has concluded that the most important factors in workplace engagement are related to the actions of the direct supervisor. In the presence of a caring leader who customizes their approach to the individual, engagement grows. Spend time individually with your people; show that you care; understand their strengths; reach agreement on goals; encourage them to pursue these goals; help them understand their job; and make sure they have what they need to do their job properly.
This really came home to me recently when a new manager asked me how to deal with some issues on his team. I realized that he did not consider it useful to spend time one-on-one with his staff. His misconception was that great leaders made speeches to the group to inspire them, and put in place new rules to deal with issues. When I realized his problem, I had a hard time convincing him to put his remarkable people skills to work one-on-one with his staff behind close doors. When he finally agreed, the results were spectacular. Through this and other experiences, I have come to understand that many new leaders – or leaders who have struggled with team performance for years – don’t understand the basic need to get personal.
It is a new check for me when dealing with issues on a team. I make sure that the leader understands that they need to have one-on-one time with each member of their team. It’s through these meetings where progress and engagement can take root.
For more on how we approach one-on-ones here at the Inclusion System, take a look at these:
- My best #1 employee engagement and management tip
- The coaching cycle: part 1
- The coaching cycle part: real-life coaching sessions
Great leaders spend plenty of time one-on-one with each of their direct reports. Do you?
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