5 Reasons You Should Stop Having One-on-Ones Immediately

Learn how to do one-on-ones well or find a career where you can work alone.

Strong relationships fuel great results.


Vibrant relationships fuel remarkable results.

5 reasons to stop having one-on-ones:

#1. Don’t have one-on-ones if you’re a fault-finding nitpicker.

No one wants to be around fault-finding nitpickers. People are better off without you. Close your office door. Don’t attend zoom meetings.

Orientation is the difference between fault-finding and improvement. Improvement is forward-facing and joyful. Fault-finding is backward-facing and dreadful.

#2. Don’t have one-on-ones if you’re driven by fear.

Fearful leaders give birth to paralyzed teams. Fear might motivate but it also exhausts.  

Focus on small improvements in the near-term if you’re a fearful leader.

Imagined problems in the distant future paralyze progress in the near future.

#3. Don’t have one-on-ones if you neglect opportunities.

Wallowing in problems exhausts everyone, but opportunity driven leaders ignite energy.

Turn problem-centric conversations toward the future by asking, “What opportunities do you see here?”

#4. Don’t have one-on-ones if you don’t like people.

You’re a hater if people have to do everything right before you enjoy having them on the team.

List three to five things you like about your team member before your one-on-one. Do this especially if you have to correct them.

#5. Don’t have one-on-ones if you’re a blabbermouth.

Blabbermouths drain power from team members.

Powerless people never achieve radical results.

  1. Prepare people to talk during one-on-ones by sending questions to discuss in advance. Better yet, craft the agenda together.
  2. Establish a culture where employees control most of the agenda during one-on-ones. “This is your meeting.”
  3. Don’t interrupt. Slow your breathing. Lean back. Raise your eyebrows.
  4. Count to three after someone finishes speaking. You’ll be surprised what people say if you make space for them to talk.
  5. Ask, “And what else?”

Tip: Say, “Let’s take a walk,” when someone shows up for their next one-on-one.

What makes one-on-ones suck?

What makes a one-on-one energizing instead of draining?