It’s important to check in regularly with each of your employees, but how can you make the best use of the time? How can you make the meetings more productive and collaborative? What do you need to change as the owner of your business and what do you need to ask your employee to do differently?
Group Meetings Vs. One on One
In the digital age, we tend to communicate with our team via email, IM, phone, and text. But nothing quite beats a face-to-face, one-on-one meeting
One-on-ones are one of the most important productivity tools you have as a manager. They are where you can ask strategic questions such as, are we focused on the right things? And from a rapport point of view, they are how you show employees that you value them and care about them.
In light of this dual purpose, running an effective one-on-one meeting “requires real cognitive agility. Your goal is to show your commitment to helping your colleague develop and grow/
Schedule Regular Time
The frequency with which you have one-on-ones will vary depending on the size of your team, how big or small your fitness business is and how high-maintenance or experienced your employees are. It doesn’t necessarily matter how often they occur, but it is important that you schedule them on your calendar as a repeating event.
This is for your own good — when employees know they have a standing meeting, they are less likely to barrage you with a constant stream of interruptions. Experiment with frequency until you find the right rhythm.
Prepare Discussion Points
In an ideal world, you and your team member would collaborate on an agenda ahead of time. But workday pressures and time constraints often get the better of us. A more realistic goal may be to jot down a list of bullet points that you’d like to discuss. Ask your team member to do the same.
Once you’re face-to-face, compare lists and make sure you have time to cover the most pressing points. You need to set expectations around what’s most important and create an incentive to focus. If the conversation diverges, it’s your responsibility to get it back on track. That said, it’s also important to be flexible. In other words, you need some structure but not too much. These meetings are best when you and your colleague are in “co-creative mode”. Decide together what you’ll reasonably accomplish in the time allotted: Are there items that can be tabled for another time?
When it’s time for the one-on-one, you need to shift gears and get out of autopilot. Don’t think of the meeting as just another item on your to-do list; instead, consider it a precious moment of connection. Think, ‘I’m here to make a difference in the life of this person.’
Devote your full attention to your employee. Turn off your phone, and mute your computer so as not to risk being distracted by pings or rings. It’s so easy to send a message inadvertently that you don’t care about the other person and that whatever is on your phone is more important.
Begin the meeting by sharing a win. You might, for instance, compliment your team member on a tricky client she helped. Say, ‘I know you worked hard on and that, and I think it went very well.’ It’s a great way to start a one-on-one because it creates positive energy.
One-on-one meetings are good venues to take on big strategic questions and problem solve. It’s important that you “strike a balance” between asking questions and listening to what your team member has to say. You are there to learn.
Ask Questions About Career Plans
Although you should prioritise pressing issues and those of strategic importance, don’t neglect the personal. One-on-ones can be a good opportunity to help your team members be more thoughtful about their careers and lives. You need to take in your employees as a whole human being.
Be curious. While some managers like to talk about professional development at every meeting, others like to do it at every other meeting to create time to focus on the individual. It’s up to you, but if you plan to touch on career plans, it’s prudent to give your employee a heads up because those conversations require reflection and thought.
Give employees the time and space to think about what they want to express before you broach the subject.
Close the meeting as you began it — with positivity. Just slow down and say ‘Thank you.’ It’s five seconds. It’s a moment of pause. Words of affirmation mean a lot to employees. Don’t say something if it’s not genuine or doesn’t feel authentic to you, but if you can talk about something they’re doing well or say something like, ‘I appreciate and value what you’re doing,’ it’s powerful.
Principles to Remember
Begin each meeting by sharing a win. It creates positive energy.
Notify your employee in advance if you plan to touch on professional development — those conversations require reflection and thought.
Be curious. Listen to your colleague’s concerns and provide feedback and ideas on how she might solve problems.
Cancel. Demonstrate to your employee that he takes priority by arriving on time.
Be rigid. While it’s wise to have an agenda, it’s also important to be flexible.
Forget to say “thank you.” It’s important to show your colleague that you value him.