Berger Leadership Blog

Tips for more effective one-on-ones

Dan one-on-oneWe're just over halfway through 2019. At my organization – and I'm sure at many of yours, too – our managers are holding midyear reviews with their team members to see how things are going.

Part of the reason for these check-ins is to see how employees are progressing on their annual goals. As I've previously written, our goal-setting process at NAFCU emphasizes measurability to see how far you've come and to set the company and individual up for growth and success. Why? Because when your employees succeed, your company succeeds.

But leadership is about more than just business. An effective leader builds relationships and demonstrates that they care. I came across this post from Charlie Buckland, a learning and development expert, about how to have more effective one-on-one meetings. His tips are great to consider during midyear reviews.

  1. Only speak business if you have time. If one of your employees is struggling with a project or task, they aren't going to wait until their midyear review to bring it up. And they shouldn't – managers need to be approachable for work-related problems on a regular basis. One-on-ones should be more meaningful than daily status check-ins.

  2. Always start with 'how are you?' How often do you respond "I'm fine" or "I'm good" when really you're not? If that's the response you get from a team member, probe a little deeper. Show that you actually care about their honest response, including the good and bad going on in their life.

  3. Feedback, feedback, feedback. Buckland says this is a two-way street and I totally agree. Not only do managers need to provide employees with positive comments and constructive criticism, leaders need to be open to hearing it, too.

  4. Every day is a school day. If we're not learning, we're not growing. Chances are most of us do learn something new every day, but we don't think about it in that frame of mind. Encourage employees to try new things and reflect on how it helps them grow.

The important thing, Buckland notes, is that we make a difference in our employees' lives. That's why I practice servant leadership – investing in the personal and professional well-beings of employees is key.

Work shouldn't only be about work. People matter, too.

Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).

About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and helped turn the association into the premiere advocate for the credit union industry. Since becoming president and CEO in 2013, Berger, who is also an author, economist, and one of Washington's top lobbyists, is credited with bringing national attention to key policy issues, while ensuring NAFCU's members meet policymakers at the highest levels of government.

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