Time with our team in One to Ones is a good investment

Why should we bother with Ones to Ones, especially if we work closely with our team day to day and we have annual reviews?


Whenever we ask participants on a workshop if they have One to Ones with their line manager, this is what they say; some people reply with enthusiasm that they do have One to Ones and how regular they are; others will tell you exactly when their last one was and it’s often 2 – 6 months ago or more; others say they have never had one. The point is they know exactly when they last had a One to One.


And the common theme is the emotion behind the reply, from appreciation through anger to disengaged acceptance. In other words they care. But why do they care?


What is a One to One? A One to One is an opportunity for a person to have time with their line manager. In it they can discuss anything that matters to them. They can ask for feedback; tell their manager how they are feeling about their career, or their job; they can discuss issues and challenges in their work or with their colleagues. If they have something to say then this is their time to say it.


How long does a One to One take? It might be five minutes or up to an hour. It all depends on what the person has to say.


So they care because it is their time to talk about them. It shows that the manager cares about the individuals in their team. It gives them a chance to really open up. In organisations which are moving faster than ever and demanding more of their staff, the One to One is more important than ever.


The best team leaders, managers or directors always make time for One to Ones with their direct reports, no matter how busy they are. I met a team leader who has 32 direct reports but she still made time for bi-monthly One to Ones. I am not sure how she manages it, but they really appreciate the fact that she does and respected her for it.


One to Ones are important even if we work closely together because the subject of the conversation is not about the work, it is about the person. It is a different conversation. And it is a conversation held in more private circumstances than the open office.


One to Ones also have a positive impact on people’s motivation, their feeling of well being and respect for their organisation.


We’ll have more on how to run successful One to Ones in future posts.


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What is the point of One to Ones?