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How to have a great one-on-one meeting with our subordinates?

Study guide

You have a problem you want to talk about, but your boss always seems busy. So you remain silent and hope that the problem will be solved. On the other hand, as a manager, you are not sure how to talk to a shy team member; Without causing unnecessary worry to him.

You may find one-on-one meetings tedious, a waste of valuable time, or even a merely unpleasant experience. But regular and effective meetings between managers and their team members are essential for both the individual and the team.

One-on-one meetings can help you set goals for your team, guide people, and identify areas where they can progress. Regular meetings also help you bridge the gap between you and your team. This will strengthen the relationships within your team and provide a more coordinated and motivated environment.

This article addresses these issues and the potential benefits of other one-on-one sessions, as well as the disadvantages of avoiding them. It also explores how these sessions can be really practical. Finally, here are five simple steps you can take to begin the process of preparation for mediation.

Benefits of one-on-one meetings

According to Blake Moton, the most effective leaders value tasks and people equally. They are committed to their team’s goals and encourage their team members to do the same. At the same time, they do whatever it takes to protect the interests of their people. This may include helping your team deal with issues, ensuring they feel happy in the workplace, and spending time communicating with them.

But only when you know your team members can you help them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. The best way to do this is to have regular, structured, one-on-one meetings with each team member. This allows you to keep them focused on their goals and helps them understand their role in the “bigger picture”.

These regular meetings give your team a chance to discuss issues or ask questions. It also fosters a team spirit of honesty and openness. This trustworthy environment allows people to effectively give and receive feedback, and identifies areas that need or require individual training and development.


One-on-one sessions are a great opportunity to apply goal-direction theory. This theory helps managers choose their leadership style based on the specific needs and wants of their team and their current position (such as team relationships, job descriptions, repetitive or complex workloads). Using this tool will help you assess how often you should have one-on-one meetings with your team members.

Risks of not having one-on-one meetings

When you keep your feedback on team members’ performance for infrequent formal performance reviews, it is probably too late to be effective and may even discourage the person.

If you provide regular feedback, the other party will probably be more motivated; Even if the feedback is negative. If you express such feedback sensitively, it can be a springboard for better performance.

However, without regular one-on-one meetings, the quality of the team members’ work and, consequently, growth and development opportunities may be forgotten. Other workplace problems, such as arguments or team mistakes, may also be overlooked. The result can be an unpleasant surprise for you as a manager and responsible for the performance of the team, especially if something is out of your control.

If that happened then we would all be in big trouble. People may even decide to quit their jobs because you have not dealt with things quickly and completely.

Even when there is no bad feeling between you and your team, if you do not have regular meetings with people, you will probably find that you rely on past conversations, missed opportunities, or confusing and time-consuming emails for notifications. Everyone’s productivity is likely to be affected, and people may make mistakes because they have no idea about the big picture.


Remember that feedback should not be one-sided. Team members probably have valuable things to say about how to manage the team, which can be about how to act as a unit or possible solutions. Take time to listen to your team members and what they want to say. However, they are at the forefront and are likely to find practical problems and solutions for them.

How to have a great one-on-one meeting?

There are 5 key elements to creating a great one-on-one meeting.

1. The correct place

The best place for a one-on-one meeting is a “neutral” place. Inviting a new team member to your office may make him or her think he or she has done something wrong, even if his or her co-workers know that you will only have one informal follow-up session with him or her. Being in the boss’s office may also prevent him from easily voicing his issues or concerns.

Provide a meeting place where both parties feel comfortable. If time and circumstances allow, you can even go out for coffee.

However, remember that confidentiality is the key to building trust with your team. If you are going to give negative feedback or discuss personal problems, you should do it in a private place without interruption.

If you manage a team remotely, one-on-one meetings may not be possible. Instead, you may have to make an appointment over the phone or online. However, make sure that, like face-to-face meetings, it is not possible for other people to hear you talking. And keep in mind that one-on-one meetings are more valuable to people who are not in regular contact with the rest of the team, so take the time to address concerns and pursue growth and development.

2. The correct time

Commit to holding regular one-on-one meetings. Whether the meetings are weekly or bi-weekly, record the date in your calendar and that it is only possible to change it in very specific circumstances (if your virtual team is in different parts of the world, pay attention to the time difference). When you show that these meetings are important to you, your team takes them seriously and prepares well for them.

3. Correct content

Everything that both parties need should be discussed in the meeting and only the same issues should be addressed. Depending on your agenda, dealing with any topic from 15 minutes to an hour will probably be effective.

The content of the meeting should be divided into three main categories:

  • Set goals, plan and give feedback.
  • Any issues, suggestions and solutions that your team member wants to raise.
  • A broader, informal discussion of job advancement, personal development, training needs, and how your team member feels about his or her role.

By covering these tips, you can identify opportunities to get help from a coach and other training to help your team member develop his or her skills and achieve his or her goals.

It is important that you agree on a clear agenda in advance, as a decentralized meeting can be ineffective. Pay attention to the time, summarize the points and make sure that the discussion goes on. However, it is important to be flexible and give people time to address their issues well. Also make sure he says everything in detail about what your team member wants to say and knows what is expected of him or her.

4. The right tone

One-on-one meetings give you a golden opportunity to understand what is really going on in your team and how your team members really feel. These meetings are also a safe space for your people to express what they think and how they feel.

Use the right tone to reduce the “power gap” between you and your team. Do this by finding the right balance between openness and professionalism. This balance depends on the person and the circumstances. You may be more comfortable with some of your team members in an informal tone and prefer to be more formal with others.

It is also important that no one dominates the meeting. Do not give speeches or make a series of complaints. Avoid sitting still. Both you and your team member should have the time and space to honestly and appropriately address your concerns, and you should also actively listen to make sure you are getting the other person right.

Most importantly, these meetings are an opportunity to work together to solve problems and increase productivity, so keep the atmosphere warm and happy.

5. Correct results

It is very easy to hear ideas when you are engaged in a conversation and to forget them when you are immersed in your daily work. So you have to agree on what should be done before the next meeting, what the other person’s responsibilities will be after this meeting, and how his or her progress will be measured.

Both you and your team member should leave the meeting with practical and related goals and an updated to-do list. Follow up immediately with an email. In this email, reiterate the agreed-upon practical tips, including the timeline for achieving the agreed goals. Planning to check some things before a one-on-one meeting will help both of you stay on track.


How to have a great one-on-one meeting with our subordinates?

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