Leadership is an individualized art. Similar to the golf swing or writing, everyone has their own unique style but of course best practices around punctuation or swing plane are there through years of experts’ trial and error.

Managing a team — like writing or golf — is difficult. Keeping your team inspired and motivated takes focused attention. Removing roadblocks for every individual contributor can be a full time job within itself. In addition, great managers keep up-to-date on the emotions, feelings, and productivity of each team like a hawk.

We’ve been asked if a manager can still be good without doing One on One meetings?

The One on One meeting has three major benefits:

  1. Invest individual time into each relationship of a team member.
  2. Provide a structured platform to allow them to communicate to you.
  3. Stay up-to-date on progression towards SMART Goals, metrics, and pathways to success!

Investing Individual Time Into Each Relationship of a Teammember

If you ask any manager if they invest individual time in each relationship of a team member, they’ll say “yes.” My team is the most important part of my role as a manager. When asked “how?” the answers will vary: many will say “One on Ones,” others will say in the hallway, numerous will share its outside of work (happy hours and such).

There are many ways to spend individual time with each team member — whether it be at the bar, in a one on one, on the golf course, or a monthly coffee. The key is to make sure that individual time is not missed.

The Hardest Part: Making sure you do it with all the direct reports. Spending individual time with team members you like is easy. They are the first ones you vent to, b.s. with, and “default” to. However spending time with people that you are not friendly with but have to because of the work relationship is tougher. Putting some process around the frequency with each team member is crucial.

Provide a Structure Platform for Communication

Let’s say for argument’s sake, each week (or every other week) a manager is able to grab an individual drink or outing of some sort with every direct report. These outings could be at the bar, Top Golf, dinner, coffee — you name it. The venue will absolutely dictate the flow of the conversation. Coffee will be much different than a bar or dinner.

The Hardest Part: Making sure all the bases are covered when it comes to what is on the direct report’s mind and agenda. Many times if you meet one on one at a bar, another work colleague might be there and interrupt. It might be too loud to have a serious conversation.

Stay Up-to-Date on Progress of SMART Goals, Metrics, and Pathways to Success

It’s likely every manager has weekly meetings around team performance in relation to goals set. However most managers are playing whack-a-mole when it comes to performance or even worse, leading from behind a desk (or spreadsheet). Chief Problem Solvers, which is a job we all know we should resign from, is the not business to be in when it comes to scalable growth. Team contribution is the sum of all the individual parts. Every team has individual contributors that should be addressed individually around their performance.

The Hardest Part: Getting into the individual details on a regularly scheduled rhythm in an environment that allows for the professional conversation around metrics and performance. Most managers would rather take the easy route and stick to high level, fun and fluffy talk. This is great in building rapport but difficult when working with an underperformer or pushing a team member to be great. Also, doing this at the bar is difficult.

Great managers are always spending individual time with each direct report. They are always allowing their direct reports a rhythmic opportunity to voice their ideas, suggestions, opinions, and concerns. They are constantly monitoring performance on an individual level and addressing not only under performers but also praising overachievers.

Can you be a good manager without One on One meetings or better perhaps the better question: can you do all of these regularly without leveraging One on Ones? Sure, but it’s much more difficult to do it without a process like the One on Ones produce.

One on One Meetings are the best way to provide stronger communication, greater alignment, and deeper team engagement. WideAngle is One on One meeting software used by companies including General Electric, IBM, AT&T, Google, and many more to make sure One on Ones happen, are productive, and documented.

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