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Effective 1:1 meetings build a strong team culture

Published on
Illustration of two people seated conducting a one on one meeting

As I reflect on the years of leading teams, one of my highest priorities is to ensure that I conduct effective 1:1 meetings with my team members every month.

1:1 meetings are more than stepping through assigned tasks to get a status update, they are a two-way conversation where you can openly discuss issues, solve challenges, give constructive feedback (to either party), and help develop team members for their current or future roles.

Benefits of a well-executed 1:1 meeting

For the Team Member

  • Build an open and honest relationship with your leader where two-way feedback is encouraged

  • Get to know more about your Leader – what makes them tick, what their hobbies are etc – building a stronger relationship

  • Receive mentoring and coaching aligned to objectives and a development plan

  • Understand clearly what is expected and receive ongoing and timely feedback (no surprises at performance review time!)

For the Leader

  • Build an open and honest relationship with your team member where two-way feedback is encouraged

  • Get to know more about your Team Member – what makes them tick, what their hobbies are etc – building a stronger relationship, showing that you care

  • Impart knowledge to assist with development

  • Develop successors for your role

  • Increased likelihood of gaining loyalty and trust, and building a highly productive team

Tips for establishing an effective 1:1 meeting routine

  1. Encourage your team member to lead the meeting so they feel they have ownership.

  2. Have a few discussion topics that are repeated each month to set some structure to the meeting. This encourages the team member to take ownership and prepare for the meeting. For example:

    • A check-in – how are they travelling emotionally and physically?

    • A follow-up on actions from previous meetings

    • A progress update towards achieving development plan goals – you also might like to break the goals up into smaller tasks that can be achieved within a month

    • A progress update towards achievements of Key Performance Indicators

  3. Set aside some time in the meeting to have a more relaxed conversation about something that is not necessarily work related – e.g. a shared hobby, a holiday, kids activities etc.

  4. For leaders, do not cancel 1:1 meetings unless it is an emergency – or at the very least reschedule. It sends a clear message that a leader does not care if they repeatedly cancel what should be the most important meeting in a leader’s calendar.

From my experience it takes time to build strong working relationships within a team, however the time spent in 1:1 with team members is well worth it; to build careers, gain loyalty and trust and to create a more positive team culture.

  • Kim Buckley avatar
    Kim Buckley
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