5 Steps To Conduct A Great One-On-One Meeting With Your Employee

One-on-one meeting with boss

One of the great lessons I have learned the hard way is how to hold effective one-on-one meetings with my employees.  OK, I’ll be honest, I didn’t do this in most of my early leadership positions.  Instead I relied heavily on team meetings to get specific updates from each employee with the hope that sharing all the project updates in the meeting would keep everyone happy. I’ve since learned that the key to keeping employees motivated and productive is to have a strong relationship with them. Rewards are nice but they can never replace the results you will achieve through a relationship with you employee.  Don’t repeat my mistakes.  Learn from them and start off with a bang.

1. Schedule the regular meeting and don’t miss it.

Find a great time to meet with your employee and stick to it.  I work to meet with each of my direct reports once a week. I often let the employee find the best time slot that works for them and for me.  Once we put the meeting on the calendar, I try to never miss the meeting. If you miss the meeting once, it is OK.  If you find that you are missing the meeting on a regular basis, then you are telling your employee that they do not matter.  Schedules are difficult to control, but you must control the time with the employee and be consistent all the time.  When you have a problem with interruptions, double booked schedules, or other issues during this time slot, simply reschedule the meeting to a time that works best for each of you. I watch too many other managers blow off their employees for some important meeting. Never do that!

Daddy, Did Anything Break Today?



Working in IT can be difficult because your job is to make sure that everything works well all the time. When technology breaks, you are expected to fix it immediately and then answer the question “Why did this happen?” so that you can correct the problem. On days when things do break, I tell my daughter what system broke and give a brief summary of what we did to fix it. Then we talk about her day. What went wrong and what went right with her classes or homework or friends. I always start with what was wrong and then finish with what went right.

This isn’t just a problem for me or just in the IT field. This is a problem for all of us. Stuff breaks or doesn’t work out well and, honestly, we have to deal with it. The question is how do you deal with it? Do you come home angry? Do you yell and scream? Do you leave it at the office? Do you go and hide somewhere while you sulk? None of these are productive.

Below are several steps you can use to deal with the issue and turn it from a bad day into a learning experience.