Here’s a short article written by one of my colleagues. A great reminder for all managers – stay in touch with your team members. A little time invested up front can save you a lot of heartache and consternation later, and foster a more harmonious, productive, engaging, and enjoyable work environment.
Written by Teague Simoncic
“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters
I’m going to start this [article] off by giving you a heads up right off the bat – I’m going to ask you to do something we rarely advise you to do. I’m going to ask you to put another meeting on your calendar. Yes, this goes against lots of the advice we’ve passed along over the course of these newsletters (alvcoaching.com). But hear me out.
Appropriate, thoughtful, and targeted feedback is a necessary tool to make meaningful improvements in our work performance. However, most employees report that they only receive coaching or input about their work during yearly performance reviews. That means that 364 days out of the year, you’re winging it – and might be totally out of line with what your team needs from you. This can lead to disengagement, confusion, and wasted time.
Scheduling protected space for ongoing 1:1 meetings can have some incredible benefits. First, there are no surprises – if you need something from your employee, you can make sure they know and that they’re clear on what next steps should be taken. Second, it provides an opportunity to highlight accomplishments that might be missed if they’re only addressed once a year. In fact, employees report that they value regular recognition far more than annual bonuses or awards. Third, it can save time in the long run! Rather than extensive back-and-forth email conversations where nothing is truly resolved, most issues aren’t so critical that they can’t wait to be appropriately addressed during your regular check-ins. Are you sold yet?
I do have some guidelines that I recommend to teams attempting to set these up (or, if you’re already doing regular performance meetings, making them more productive).
1. Determine what meeting frequency will work best for you
Some teams need weekly 30-minute sessions, others will function better with monthly 60-minute meetings. Whatever you choose, make sure you protect that time and try not to cancel unless it’s absolutely necessary – these meetings are just as important as other obligations on the books.
2. Set a firm agenda for what you’d like to go over, and make it a collaborative process if possible.
A few minutes of pre-work can save you and your team valuable time as you scramble to think up topics. Finally, remember the purpose of these meetings and adjust as necessary. Make them work for you.
Some of my most important leadership development has come from 1:1s with bosses I respect and trust. Now that I’m a supervisor, I cherish the time I can spend focusing on my team members and their individual successes and needs. Am I sometimes overwhelmed by the number of meetings on my calendar? Absolutely. But these ones are worth it, and I think you’ll find yourself feeling the same.
Take a step toward having productive and meaningful check-ins with your team (your manager or direct reports, based on your current career standing). If you don’t have any regular 1:1 meetings on the books, get them scheduled. If they’re happening, analyze your current process and figure out where there’s room for improvement. Enjoy your useful time spent together!