Quick Strategies to Energize One-On-Ones
You don’t have time to waste AND your team members need time with you.
#1. Give your full attention:
- Hide your cell phone.
- Put your computer to sleep.
Distraction is disrespect.
Distraction in you creates disengagement in them. If you must monitor text messages or email, explain the situation.
#2. Ask questions: (and listen)
- What’s working?
- What’s giving you energy?
- How are you using your strengths?
- Tell me about a recent success?
- What would make work more enjoyable?
Send a list of questions to your direct report with this note. “Please pick three or four questions you would like to discuss at our one-on-one.”
#3. Pop the cork on pressure for quick answers.
When problems emerge, lean in. Ask questions. Whenever possible, provide opportunities for people to solve their own problems.
The person who solves the problem has the power.
Enhance the power of others by making room for them to solve their own problems.
Running with the ball:
- That’s a great question.
- Let me look into this.
- I’ll get back to you this afternoon. (ALWAYS follow-through when you say you’ll follow-up.)
Passing the ball to others:
- What do you think?
- What would you like to do about that?
- What small actions might make this better?
#1. Location matters:
- Go to their office. Take every opportunity to elevate the comfort and power of others.
- Go for a walk. Walking side-by-side lowers stress and increases openness.
- Go to a coffee shop.
#2. Go beyond work:
- “How’s the family?”
- Share something about yourself. Invite connection. Open your heart.
- Leverage common interests.
#3. Talk about good more than bad. (3:1)
- Notice progress.
- Honor success.
- Talk about things you like.
- Show respect for effort.
- Appreciate character qualities. (Grit, attention to detail, social skill, optimism, etc.)
#4. Frequency matters.
Frequent and brief one-on-ones are better than long quarterly one-on-ones. Try 15 minutes twice a month.
What should leaders avoid during one-on-ones?
What tips for successful one-on-ones might you add?
One-on-one worksheet (pdf)
Bill Campbell Teaches a Google VP how to lead one-on-ones:
A nice topic of ‘Distraction Is Disrespect’!
Bosses have a habit of not looking at you when you talk to them on a one-to-one basis. They pretend to be too busy on their laptop or looking at the papers or signing while listening to your view points. I consider it as too insulting! An another way of distraction is attending to phone calls or moving out to attend to calls showing their undue position related power!!
It’s difficult to get good bosses while in service who have a human approach and value you as an individual. They never like you if you think big and try to contribute in the organization interest breaking the hierarchy level communication line.
Thanks Dr. Asher. It’s easy to become self-important and then make excuses for self-centered behaviors. One great challenge of leadership is holding to an others-focus.
Recognizing different strategies in leadership and mentor ship, I have never benefited from a boss boasting about themselves in these types of meetings. If my attempts at redirecting the conversation are not successful, I take another course towards exiting the conversation.
“How can I be better?” This was very disarming and influencing on the sequential years. It aligns with servant leadership that I very much respect and appreciate.
Thanks Kishla. Love the “How can I be better” question. It’s specific and humble. Beware of generic answers like, “Try harder.”
Loved these prompts in the article… helpful- thank you
One on Ones NEED TO BE WEEKLY. 30 minutes. I’m a strong believer that one a month or once a quarter is WORSE than not having them at all. https://www.manager-tools.com/2019/01/manager-tools-data-one-ones-part-1-hall-fame-guidance
Thanks Paul. I appreciate that you extended the conversation.
Because I leave my office door open for staff to have ready access, whenever someone wants to visit with me I always get up from my desk and either stand next to them or sit together at my adjacent conference table. That way they have my undivided attention and I’m not distracted by tasks I was working on. Neither does it give them the chance to glance at my desk or what’s on my computer screen.
Thanks Pat. The combination of little actions makes a big difference. Thanks for sharing.
These kinds of posts can’t come out often enough — thank you.
What about the manager asking “what do you need from me?”
Thanks for your kind words, Anon. You added a wonderful question.
Great read Dan! Loved the audio you included. Such a powerful story about failing to know the dreams and aspirations of his admin.
Who was telling the story and where could I find the full version of that interview?
Thanks Chad. I interviewed Jonathan Rosenberg for the audio included above. Rosenberg was a VP at Google and is co-author of, “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.”
The original post: BILL CAMPBELL TEACHES GOOGLE EXECS HOW TO RUN MEETINGS
I once had a supervisor who did not allow anyone to bring problems to him unless they had a proposed solution to offer. I must admit that it made me think twice before presenting problems. The last thing that an already stretched supervisor needs is nagging from all team members. I have carried that philosophy with me throughout my professional years and it has worked well for me. Now if I could just figure out what to do about millennials and that darned cell phone…
A character flaw of mine is that I tend to let myself become distracted, especially during personal interactions. I have obviously been working on improving myself in this regard and your advice is very helpful. As far as tips go, I would echo the point that you made about changing locations. It helps to step away from the office and walk into their environment so they can see you care and so that your distractions are not in play. Another tip that I might share would be to make eye contact, but not too much. This shows that you are not distracted and that you are engaged in the conversation while also not coming across as intimidating.
An absolutely massive thing to avoid is an electronic device during a one-on-one. Of any kind. I know this because I have been guilty of it more than I would really like to admit. I had one of my staff members come to me with a complaint about another staff person. I was trying to finish my clinic notes and I just kept typing while she was talking. Part of the way through the discussion she excused herself instead of finishing. She told me later she felt disrespected (just as you have said). Needless to say, I learned a good lesson from that experience. Put away the phone and back away from the computer.
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