Getting The Best Out Of One-on-ones

Michael Gruen



As a manager, one of the issues you will face if you aren't regularly meeting with people is that people will generally not communicate with you when there is a problem. This can be for any number of reasons, such as how busy they are, or having already communicated it to their peers. Also, if you only talk when there's problems, people will start to be worried about coming to you.

Actions taken

When I first started at my previous company, I was tasked with building an engineering team alongside another person. The other person came from an organization that regularly used one-on-ones, so he insisted that we also use them. I agreed because I knew the importance of consistent management.

"We didn't use the one-on-ones to discuss projects or how a technology is or is not working. Instead, we focussed on how things were going in general. We set up a structure where we would check in with everybody with 30-minute one-on-ones on a regular schedule of either biweekly or monthly. This created a space where I could give both positive and negative feedback to people reporting to me, and they could provide feedback to me."

Lessons learned

By having regularly scheduled one-on-ones, I was able to celebrate the wins and not only meet with people when there was a problem. Also by listening to and acting on feedback, I was able to determine where I needed to improve and I was able to coach and mentor my direct reports effectively. While it doesn't solve all the problems you may face with people management, by making sure you are consistently giving and receiving feedback you and your direct reports will learn and grow together while also building a strong rapport.

For longer version go to: One-on-One Meetings

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Michael Gruen

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