I’ll go ahead and answer my own question in the title:
Yes! Of course you want to know my number one leadership tool.
I also won’t make you wait. The tool is one-on-one meetings.
Fellow blogger Jon Stolpe wrote about the power of one-on-one meetings and shares his experience below.
You can read all about how to run them, how not to run them, get free downloads and much more here:
Here’s what Jon had to say…and stay tuned at the end of the post for an exciting announcement.
Do you feel connected to your team?
Several months ago, Matt encouraged his readers to establish and maintain weekly one-on-one meetings with their direct reports. At the time, I was contemplating what I could do to connect with my team on a deeper level.
As an operations manager in the construction industry, I’m challenged to balance my time as I’m responsible to make sure my group is operating as planned. I meet with my team members monthly on an individual basis to review their projects to review their projects from a financial, resource, risk, and customer perspective. These monthly meetings, which typically last about an hour, provide a pretty good snapshot of things from a business perspective, but they don’t provide a lot of time for diving deeper personally.
I’m also responsible for participating in other department and company meetings. Again, these meetings are important for certain aspects of our business success, but they typically don’t provide opportunity for connecting on a more personal level.
I’ve heard it said that “It’s business, it’s NOT personal.” Well, I disagree. As a Christian leader in the workforce, I have a responsibility (and privilege) to represent Christ well. For me, this means our relationships in the business world are meant to be personal.
How can we take time to connect with our team members with all the different demands on our time?
This is the question that rolled around in my head as I read Matt’s post. I have so many things on my plate already. One-on-one meetings just don’t fit into my already busy schedule.
But Matt challenged me with this question:
How can you NOT take time to connect with your team members?
And so…I took Matt’s challenge and encouragement to heart. I’ll confess, I haven’t followed Matt’s recipe exactly. Instead of weekly one-on-one
We talk about business and the challenges that they are facing on a project or assignment. And we also talk about life outside of work. I’ve learned about their interests, their passions, and their families.meetings, I started with monthly one-on-one meetings. For the most part, these meetings have been 30-40 minutes each. I use a one-page outline to guide our discussion and to take notes which helps me capture details of our discussion. With 12 direct reports, these notes have been essential to helping me remember our conversations. And it helps with my follow through on any action items that I have taken from our meeting. (NOTE: You can download a one-on-one meeting template here)
What difference does it make if you know your team members?
It makes all the difference in the world.
The average working person spends 9-10 hours of their days at work – every day. (That’s two-thirds or more of their waking hours). Most people work over 2100 hours every year. If my math is correct, most people work about 80,000 hours in their life time. However you do the math, we spend a lot of time at work.
We are relational beings. We are made to connect with others and to be in community with others.
We are missing a huge opportunity to connect with others if we go to work, come home, get our paycheck, but fail to connect with our co-workers.
My one-on-one meetings have helped me be intentional in connecting with my team. It’s helped my team to feel more connected to me. And it’s also helped my team succeed from a business perspective.
I’m so thankful I listened to Matt and started having one-on-one meetings with my team.
Jon, I’m thankful you listened as well and honored that you placed my advice in such high regard.
And now for that exciting announcement…
OK, I actually have three and I can share two today. First, I will soon being work on my second book, which will be all about one-on-one meetings.
This is the second time that Jon has inspired me to do something big. The second announcement is that I have written a post for Jon which talks about the first time he did that. Look for it next month! In the meantime, go check out his blog now and learn more about Jon and his awesomeness. You can also connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or his blog.
Do you have one-on-one meetings with your team? If so, how have they made a difference? If not, what are you waiting for?