The Most Important Meeting of the Week
In our never-ending quest to remove meetings from our calendars, one meeting must forever remain, and its absence should concern you.
If someone reports to you, you need to know what the most important meeting of the week is. In management parlance, this is the "one-on-one", "one-to-one", or simply, the "1:1". It surprises me when team leaders (who have been doing this longer than I have) do not set aside the requisite dedicated time to touch base with their individual team members. It surprises me further when I come to learn how many managers do not see the value of it, or even know how to hold one.
The 1:1 is for your reports, not you.
The 1:1 is not for you to blather on about how you'd like more work done. It's for you to shut up and listen.
It is not for you to ask for more, it is for you to give guidance, support and help. It is you saying "Just checking in, how are things? Any challenges? How can I help you succeed?"
The 1:1 is not for getting the status of a project (different meeting). It's for getting the mental state of your people.
The 1:1 is the single best way to build trust and respect with your team, because it reminds them you care about their state. As we move toward more remote and hybrid work, the 1:1 becomes that much more important than it was in "the before times." You used to be able to a get a read on your team by observing body language, hearing tone of voice, and noting incongruity between perceived excitement and actual excitement. All that information is gone when you are reduced to communicating via email or Slack.
Managing a highly successful team is tending a garden. You can't just plant seeds and walk away. Seeds require concerted, consistent attention. Without that focused attention, you do not have a garden...you have a desert.
At Wrapmate, I care deeply about my team and am actively invested in their success. They know this. Not because I quote articles from HBR.org. Not because of motivational accessories. Not because I point to productivity charts on a cumulative flow diagram.
They know this because I tell them in their 1:1s.