One-to-one meetings are an obvious, yet overlooked, opportunity to coach, facilitate learning and unlock solutions to challenges, instead of ineffective ‘direct or tell’ management. Coaching skills, such as listening, questioning, feedback and goal setting, are critical management tools.

We coach multi-unit managers to become outstanding managers by learning to ask better questions: ones that make people stop, think and provide their own reflections and ideas. This ultimately puts ownership for implementation where it belongs – with the team member.

You might not think that listening is part of the line manager job description, but employees increasingly say they want their voices not just heard, but really listened to. Interrupting is a no-no, instead use open-ended questions that allow you to delve deeper. Get ready to be comfortable with silence though, to allow for a few moments of deeper reflection. By listening carefully, you can create trustworthy exchanges, show compassion and develop loyalty among your team.

This isn’t an interrogation. It’s about checking in, not checking up!

“To learn through listening, practice it naively and actively. Naively means that you listen openly, ready to learn something, as opposed to listening defensively, ready to rebut. Listening actively means you acknowledge what you heard and act accordingly.”  Betsy Sanders, former senior vice president and general manager, Nordstrom

The key is having a structure that helps, not hinders, the meeting flow. The last thing anyone wants is for the process to get in the way of effective conversations. Create a simple structure to cover the topics you’ll discuss regularly… and get ready to listen!

Better One-to-Ones. Better Results.

If you’d like to know more about this topic, please subscribe to download our guide to powerful and effective one-to-one meetings: Better One-to-Ones. Better Results. It will help you transform a transactional, box-ticking one-to-one meeting into a constructive dialogue.