The importance of 1:1 meetings
In my experience, having regular 1:1s with your direct report is one of the most important things you can do as a manager.
These meetings are great for getting to know your reports, building trust, talk career development, share context, and clear up expectations just to name a few examples. Regular 1:1s can also help improve employee engagement.
To form healthy relationships you need to spend some time together. Having frequent 1:1 meetings with each report is a great way to make sure that time happens regularly. Employees that don’t have regular 1:1s with their manager are twice as likely to view leadership more unfavorably.
Good communication is key for building trust and having regular check-ins can help with that communication. When you set off time and energy to really listen you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of what your reports are thinking. This will also give you a chance to catch misunderstandings and clear things up. When you understand each other your decisions will feel more anchored and priorities will be shared.
Having one on ones can also act as a productivity boost for both the report and the manager. Developing a shared context and setting the right expectations will help your team be synchronized and produce better results. At GE a fivefold increase in productivity was shown when frequent 1:1s were introduced instead of yearly reviews.
So to sum it all up, regular 1:1s are important for several reasons. They improve productivity, increase engagement, and even make employees view leadership more favorably.
As a leader, I favor transparency and collaboration, often involving my teammates in figuring out the best way forward. It’s important for me to build trust and to work long term. I want to build bridges and increase collaboration between teams.