6 tips for efficient and effective one-on-ones

If you’ve ever had a one-on-one meeting with a supervisor or boss, you might be familiar with how easily these meetings can become stale. It can be tempting to cancel one-on-ones because they begin to feel redundant—especially if everything is going well.

If your one-on-one meetings have begun to feel stale, it’s likely that you’re not using one-on-ones to their full potential. Here are 6 tips to help you have one-on-ones that are efficient and effective uses of your time.

Rethink your one-on-one

One-on-ones are not meant to be a time to discuss daily work or provide status updates. Instead, you should be using the time to discuss things that are higher level: professional development, career goals, feedback, concerns, etc.

Keep the meeting informal

Unless regular meetings, one-on-ones don’t need to follow an agenda or require meeting minutes. In fact, they can actually benefit from having a more informal structure. Instead of crafting an agenda for the meeting, jot down a few things you’d like to discuss.

Keep one-on-ones regular

To get the most out of your one-on-ones, hold them regularly. Try to schedule a recurring block of time at regular intervals. If either of you can’t make it, try to reschedule the meeting instead.

Ask the right questions

Rather than asking yes or no questions, aim to ask questions that are open-ended questions that are thought-provoking. Well-asked questions are important to making one-on-ones meaningful and effective, rather than just another required meeting.

Set goals that are achievable

A successful one-on-one meeting should always end with each party having an action item or two that they can be held accountable for. Aim to each set at least one goal relevant to the things you talked about during the meeting. For example, if an employee is struggling with work-life balance, a good goal might be to spend 15 minutes each day doing something that makes them happy. If they’re eyeing a promotion, have them set small goals that will help them stand out as a candidate.

professional essay writerThe employee shouldn’t be the only one leaving a one-on-one with something to work on. For example, if an employee feels like they aren’t being challenged, their supervisor might want to work on delegating tasks. If the employee feels like their hard work goes unnoticed, their supervisor might set a goal to send two emails each month praising their employees for anything accomplished. One-on-one meetings can help both parties be better at their job.

Remember there is no one-size fits all

What works for one employee might not work for the next. I’ve seen people have really effective one-on-ones sitting across from each other at a busy coffee shop, while some employees feel more comfortable in an office setting. Similarly, some employees prefer one-on-ones with a set agenda of things to discuss and meticulous notes taken. Others prefer to just let the conversation flow.

Don’t feel like you have to have the same one-on-one that your colleagues are having. Find what works best for both of you and stick with it. One-on-ones encourage both the employee and the supervisor to grow. If yours isn’t, don’t be afraid to try different settings and styles until you find one that works best for both of you.