Communication is the key to building relationships and trust. Without it you have nothing. Realize that the first step in getting anyone to do anything is to communicate. Whether that is done vocally, or by written word, or by demonstration, the bottom line is, you must get your message across. The second step in getting things done is to build trust. The most effective way to do this is through One-on-One meetings.
It’s not necessarily the easiest way, or the most efficient, but it captures your audience in a profound way. You have dedicated specific time to work only with this one person. This creates a sense of value and trust…plus there are benefits to you.
- You know that your people are your greatest asset. So why not bring them up to their peak potential? You’ll both get more done.
- By creating these discreet time segments for one on one communication, you recapture your time to focus on your priorities.
- The formality and structure of the meeting keeps you more focused, and conveys to your directs that these meetings are important enough to be held each week and you are spending precious time on them and only them.
But it is imperative that you make perfectly clear that your One-on-One meetings are strictly confidential. That room is a safe room. Anything that either of you say in that meeting stays in that meeting.
So what does a One-on-One meeting look like? It breaks down into 3½ segments. I say 3½ because the first step actually occurs before the meeting starts with your direct report. Let’s take a closer look.
Preparation may be the most important part of your One-on-One meeting. It sets the tone for the next 30 minutes with your direct. If you know what you are going to ask and you focus all of your attention on the person sitting across from you, you will make huge strides in building confidence and trust in that relationship. It requires very little time, but acute focus to the task at hand. Remember, you never have to make up for a good start.
- 10 Minutes for Them
Focus on their work for that week. Don’t worry about your needs. Ask questions that get them thinking about how their work has been going over the last week. Praise them for good work. Give adjusting feedback when things don’t go as planned. Ask them if they need anything from you. Guidance, more resources, more time? Really pay attention to their body language and make lots of eye contact.
- 10 Minutes for You
Share important items from meetings you have gone to. Share team/organization goals. Help to align the work that they do with the mission/values of the organization. This “line of sight” construction is critical to getting the most out of your people. Without a feeling of purpose and value, it is very hard to get the best effort out of anyone. Also tell them what projects you are working on and delegate appropriate tasks to help them grow.
- 10 Minutes for Development
Ask them what their plans for the future are. Do they want to earn a degree? Do they want to get more technical skills? Are they interested in promotion? What are their expectations about work? How about personal goals? These things will help you know what their desires are and what makes them do what they do.
Oh, and one more thing about One-on-One meetings: Never miss them! It is your job to make sure these meetings stay on the calendar and get done every week. If you have a conflict, reset the meeting for the same day or sooner. If the conflict is sudden and unavoidable, make it up as quickly as possible. You need to show your direct that their time is valuable to you. This builds trust! And we can all use a big dose of that in our workdays.