How to make a great one-on-one meeting

    You can create a thriving, dynamic team where all your reports feel valued, empowered, and driven to excel. To make this a reality, you must ensure a weekly one-on-one with every direct report.

    These meetings may seem simple, but their impact on overall performance is nothing short of monumental.  They build trust between you and your team (essential for radical candour), they create a focus on the objectives and instil a feeling of accountability, and they also help deepen your personal relationships.


    Don’t move them around

    This is your team. You are responsible for everything that happens in your line of reporting and these are the people that will be executing. They are the most important people, more important than your own boss (if you have one). If you are regularly rescheduling to fit in ‘last minute’ ‘high priority items, you are telling your reports that they aren’t a high priority. This will lead to a sapping of morale and performance.


    Step-by-step guide

    1. Start casually - Trust is at the foundation of any working relationship and trust requires a personal connection. If you don’t truly care about the lives of your reports, how do you expect them to take feedback constructively? What did they get up to at the weekend, did they read a book lately? Get friendly.
    2. Give recognition if the report has done something great the previous week. Don't overdo it, and look for something to praise all the time because this will devalue the value of your recognition.
    3. Look through all their current projects/items. Ask how it’s going, if you could help, confirm the timelines of completion (every task MUST have a timeline that is set by the report)
      • Give feedback here - Tell them what looks great and what could be improved.
      • If a timeline shifts, ask what caused the changes and offer help if you feel that the report is struggling to remove the impediment.
      • Ask if there are any blockers
      • Ensure that the Quarterly objectives are visible so its always clear why the report is conducting a project/process/piece of work
    4. Go through the new projects
      • How do these new items fit the quarterly objectives?
      • What are the timelines for these new items
    5. Help the report prioritise important items and REMOVE unimportant items.
    6. Occasionally, you should open yourself up to feedback from your report.
      • Am I doing a good job managing you?
      • What could I do to improve my management?
      • Is there anything in our process you’d like to change?



    Important things don't need to be difficult. Build a personal connection with those you manage. Act as a servant leader. Remember that key things need repeat communication.