4 Ways to Have Lousy One-On-Ones

Leaders bring vitality. They don’t create drudgery.

When one-on-ones turn people into zombies, you’re doing them wrong. Think of how everyone else feels if one-on-ones drain you.

Stop sucking the life out of people. Tedium isn’t productive.

When one-on-ones turn people into zombies, you're doing them wrong. Image of a zombie facing a camper.

4 ways to have lousy one-on-ones:

1. Don’t prepare.

Time with you is sour when you rush around at the last minute. People feel devalued.

Preparation says you care.

2. Talk exclusively about work.

People just want to get back to work when you blab on and on about work. There’s no work without people.

The #1 thing employees ask is, “Does my employer care about me?” (Gallup)

3. Be formal.

When professionalism builds barriers it’s a hindrance.

Connect with people.

4. Hog the time.

Listening tells people they matter. Let others do most of the talking.

One-on-one plans: Define the win before you begin. Image of a person trapped in an hour glass.

4 questions to ask before your next one-on-one:

  1. What do you want people to believe about your organization, you, and themselves?
  2. How do you want people to feel about themselves, you? Do you want them to feel energized, sobered, connected, supported, challenged AND supported?
  3. What do you want people to do?
  4. How can you encourage personal/leadership development?

3 tips for your next one-on-one:

1. Turn off distractions.

Hide your phone. Turn toward people and away from computer screens.

2. Prepare your heart.

Do three things – three minutes before your next one-on-one.

  1. Close your eyes and breathe deep for a minute.
  2. Reflect on the person you’re meeting with.
  3. Determine how you want to show up for them.

3. Take notes.

Take notes so you can follow up.

Explain that you aren’t writing prescriptions. You’re just keeping track of the conversation. Some prefer not taking notes during one-on-ones. If you don’t do it during the meeting, do it immediately after.

How can one-on-ones be energizing instead of draining?