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Master the One-on-One Meeting

Great leaders obligate themselves to watch out for their subordinates and to help them achieve mutual goals. One of the most direct methods for keeping employees on track is to hold periodic one-on-one meetings with them. In an article for Harvard Business School, Julia B. Austin describes a process for holding one-on-one meetings that leave employees feeling self-assured.


Firstly, if you are new to holding one-on-ones, then broadcast your intention to start in advance. Otherwise, if you ask for a one-on-one meeting without any notice, people might worry they are getting fired! And make these meetings a regular occurrence, deciding on an appropriate frequency and location.

As for what should actually be discussed in the meeting, Austin recommends the following:

  • Topics in a 1:1 should be about professional growth, personal connection and for giving each other feedback. Do not use the meeting to re-hash things from a group meeting or standup unless there are specific things you took off-line in that meeting or need to provide/get constructive feedback.
  • 24 hours or so before the meeting, email the employee a list of what you’d like to cover. Try to do a split between strategic, tactical and personal items and always ask your employee what they want to cover too. For efficiency, let them know if you need them to bring/read/do something before the meeting.

Of course, you should also invite employees to add their own items to the agenda, because it is important for employees to air out their concerns. No meeting should end without you asking what you can do to help the employee be successful. And after the meeting is over, notes should be succinctly recorded and shared so that you are both on the same page.

For additional tips, you can view the original article here: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/master-the-one-on-one-meeting

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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