Communication is exceedingly important to every business or organization. In an organization where there is little communication, very little is ever achieved. Usually, managers and directors give little thought to the importance of communication. Over time, this proves to be a costly mistake to the entire organization. Lack of communication has indeed torn many organizations apart. One way through which you can boost communication with your employees or team members is through one on one meetings.
Simply defined, a one on one meeting is a meeting where direct reports are given by one employee or team member to their manager. Usually, the manager will meet with each employee at a designated time. These meetings are generally informal, and are very much unlike performance evaluation meetings.
1. Create Strong Relationships
One cannot overemphasize just how important communication is to an organization. Generally, people find it easier to communicate where relationships exist. This means that if your employees find you unapproachable, they will have a hard time communicating with you. If you really have no time to spare for them, or if you do not make any effort to create a relationship with them, they will remain aloof and only see you as a distant boss. A one to one meeting is a perfect opportunity to connect with your employees.
The informal nature of these relationships makes it all the more easier for you to communicate openly with them. You can also coach and monitor them during these meetings. It is only by sitting down with each employee and listening to them that you will create strong relationships, which could prove to be extremely beneficial to your organization.
2. Address Issues
You will be surprised at just how many issues your employees are having at the workplace when you hold one on one meetings. Sometimes, they really have no avenues through which to channel their problems and frustration, as a result of which the resentment is transferred to their work. They will often under-deliver or fail to reach their full potential if they have problems that have not been addressed.
Issues at work are many and varied. Some may have problems with their workmates. Some may resent the current promotion system. Others may simply lack the equipment they need to carry out their work to the best of the ability. Some employees may not be willing to raise such problems in other meetings, but they can open up during a one on one employee meeting. When you do address their issues, their performance could improve significantly.
Another reason why you need to set time apart for one on one meetings is so that you can motivate your employees. Did you like the way they carried out a certain task? Appreciate them for it. Do you like their attitude or devotion to their work? Be sure to mention it. Are their problem- solving skills exceptional? Commend them for it. You will never know what a word of appreciation from one's boss could mean to an employee.
4. Receive Feedback
As a manager, you need as much feedback as you can possibly get from your employees. Sure, your ideas may be great and your leadership skills excellent, but you still need the opinion of others if you are to run your business properly. There is no better place to get honest feedback from your employees other than during a one on one meeting. Do they like the way the project is going? How would they like any changes at the workplace? How do they think it will impact them? Feedback is important as it allows you to see things from your employees' point of view.
There is no denying the fact that one on one meetings are time consuming, so it is important that they are productive. So, how do you make a effective one to one meeting?
1. Have an Agenda
This need not be a formal agenda, but both you and your employee should at least know what to expect during the meeting. What are you going to discuss? Ask them to send you ideas on what they think should be discussed during the meeting via email. That way, you can both prepare adequately for the meeting. Preparation is a key ingredient for a productive meeting.
2. Be Consistent
As a manager, you probably don't have much free time, and you may be tempted to hold one to one meetings at your convenience. Needless to say, this will be a costly mistake. It shows your employees that they are more of a convenience than a priority to you. If they feel as though you take them for granted, it could have negative repercussions on their performance.
Block out time on your schedule to hold a 1 to 1 meeting with each of your employees. If you cannot be physically present, then make good use of teleconferencing software such as ezTalks Meetings. This software allows you to schedule and hold one on one meetings online, share screen, record the meetings and chat.
Some of its best features include the inclusion of interactive whiteboards and HD video and audio quality. You can use the free version of the software or the paid version for premium services. This software is also ideal for one to one meetings since each meeting can only last for forty minutes. You can also hold as many meetings as you wish by using the software. With such software, you really have no excuse to postpone or cancel your one on one meetings.
3. Make Them Brief
It is better to hold a brief one on one meeting every week than to hold a long one every few months. If you want to have effective one on one meetings, make them only thirty minutes long. Additionally, do not take all that time to give your employee orders or recommendations or commands of any kind. Listen. It is only through listening that you will learn of the challenges that the employee is facing. It is only through listening that you will get feedback about projects and the workplace in general. Give the employee time to contribute during the meeting as well.
4. Choose the Right Venue
It is alright to hold the 1 on 1 meeting in your office, but have you ever considered holding the meeting in the team member's office? It might have a huge impact on the openness of the employee. You could also consider holding the meeting in an informal place to provide for a more relaxed venue.
The key to having effective one on one meetings is to prioritize your employees. When you make them feel important, you can accomplish amazing things.