26 February 2023 |

The Ultimate Guide to 1:1s with Your Team


Today I’m focusing on why consistent one-on-ones (or 1:1s) are critical for you as a leader. In Wednesday’s newsletter, I’ll be breaking down how to do them well using the PCC method (Preparation, Communication, Clarification). 

What is ONE question I can answer for you in Wednesday’s newsletter that will help you improve your 1:1s?

Here is a stat every leader should know: 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.

An engaged team will stay longer, work hard, and be most fulfilled with their work.

A recent Gallup analysis found that engaged employees require a 31% pay increase to consider taking a different job, while disengaged employees need only a 20% pay increase–on average.

That’s a big deal if you are trying to keep your best people. 

Do you understand how your people are changing?

People grow and change over time. You need time set aside to stay connected with people, or you’ll eventually become distant and disconnected. It’s why relationship experts tell parents never to stop dating.

The person you hired six months ago is facing new challenges in life, feels differently about their work than they used to, and has new goals for themselves. To be at your best as a leader, you need to give yourself an opportunity to stay connected and ensure you continue giving them the support they need to be at their best.

Are you falling into the “Open Door Policy” trap?

Telling your team you are always available won’t replace scheduled time for individuals on your team. So don’t fall for this trap. 

Just because you tell your team your door is open doesn’t mean they are going to walk through it. They might not feel comfortable approaching you unexpectedly, they might be trying to avoid extra work that can be caused by bringing up an issue, or they might simply not care enough to bring a question to your attention proactively.

Also, remember that your team doesn’t know what they don’t know. Including project updates as part of their scheduled 1:1s will encourage conversations that will help your team solve problems proactively and avoid expensive fire drills. 

Does your team know you have their best interest in mind?

Your team can’t read your mind. It’s impossible for them to always know what you are doing and why. But if they TRUST you, they will assume you have their best interest in mind and won’t become concerned you are doing things that will cause them harm (either intentionally or unintentionally).

When problems come up, you need a team who is comfortable being transparent about bringing you issues and not tempted to cover things up. Teams can only reach their potential when there is an open flow of communication and this starts with developing trust. 

Do you know your team’s priorities and bandwidth?

Consistently meeting with your direct reports will show them you are invested in them, and their continued success is a priority for you. 

The time together will also allow them to discuss their priorities and for you to ensure they understand how their work fits into the bigger picture. When people feel overwhelmed, it’s often because they don’t know how to prioritize their work. As a leader, your 1:1 conversations will be your best opportunity to ensure your team is focused on the most important work.

Another common reason employees quit is they are BORED at work. When this happens, it is because a leader lacks visibility to a person’s bandwidth. Consistent 1:1s will ensure the workload on your team is evenly distributed, and everyone is able to use their strengths.