The value of holding 1:1 meetings is clear. Delivering consistent and clear feedback through a regularly scheduled meeting improves morale, retention, and productivity. 

But.

It’s a tough meeting to commit to regularly. Disciplining your calendar is a struggle for anyone who has to deliver real results. As a leader, how do you ensure consistent feedback is being delivered to your entire organization while not wrapping your team around too much “managerial process and BS?”

Reason would suggest you mandate every manager should weekly or by weekly meetings with their direct reports.

You know the feedback from them already:

“Weekly? How can you possibly expect me to hold weekly 1:1’s with each of my direct reports? I do not have an extra half day in the week to put onto the calendar! It’s going to be impossible.”

This puts you in a predicament. You’re wondering in the back of your mind: “well how in the heck are you building a relationship with every direct report, talking about individual performance, asking for more, and pushing work down?”

Ah, it’s okay, there is a reason you put that person in leadership. You trust them and you must give them autonomy.

Should you mandate that everyone in the company do 1:1 meetings? No.

The managers who religiously do 1:1 meetings are like your friends who do Cross Fit.  They are the corporate warriors who are proactively documenting coaching conversations and likely climbing the corporate ladder.

The simple answer is no.

Of course there is a big “if.”

You should not require 1:1 meetings to be completed unless there are surprises and discrepancies in the quarterly performance reviews. Every quarter when your company does quarterly performance reviews, it’s important to work with HR, and identify which managers have the most surprises in their quarterly performance review. A surprise can be anything from a very unsatisfied employee, a major disconnect in expectations vs. performance, or any flaw resulting in communication breakdown.

If you want consistent, effective feedback laced across your entire company, emphasize 1:1 meetings but do not mandate them. Only require them for leaders who are having trouble managing.

What about the best managers? Well, they’re more than likely already doing 1 on 1 meetings.

About WideAngle: WideAngle is performance review software powered by your 1 on 1 meetings. 

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