How to Have a Productive One-on-One with Your Team Members

Employees often find one-on-one meetings unnerving, especially if it deals with reports and assessments. Managers and team leaders themselves also find it hard to do meetings because it is a challenge to get people to take part. Even when we do get our coworkers to take part, they may chose to be close-minded that these meetings become a waste of time.

But, there are ways to get people to engage in the talks. Here are some tips on how you can have a productive one-on-one with your team members:

Sort out a regular time for meetings

Before you schedule your meeting, look into your team’s size, experience and your position. You don’t have to do it every week.

As long as you schedule them as a regular event every month, it will help your employees prepare. Of course, when you do have these meetings, don’t arrive late and don’t cancel!

Prepare your discussion flow

List down what you will discuss before your meeting. Don’t add things you thought of on the spot.

Have a clear structure on how your discussion will go. You can look into the discussion flow with your team to see if they listed the same goals and topics. Read here if you want to know more about how to provide feedback.

If your discussion strays away from the topic, push the discussion back on track. Don’t be afraid to be flexible as well since this will help when you are creating a project together.

Be aware and present

During your meetings, you need to be fully in the meeting. Your attention must be in your discussion and not stray away by checking your phone or computer for notifications.

Check your messages after your meeting. This ensures that you don’t give your teammates the impression that you are not interested in what they are sharing.

Some may even be insulted if you look at something else when they are talking.

Be positive all the way

When you start your session, stay positive so your teammates will relax during the meeting.

You can also take the time to compliment their work and catch up with their work and personal life. Read here if you want to create a positive workplace culture.

Of course, make sure that the discussion about personal life will be at the end of your talk once you sorted out your meeting so that neither you or your teammate will be distracted from the actual agenda.

Discuss how you can go through problems

One-on-one meetings open opportunities for the team to talk about the project. Use the time to share strategies or opinions on how the project can be done.

You can also discuss the challenges you have faced during each task and find a solution together. You can also use this time to provide your team with feedback.

Thank them

After the meeting, don’t forget to thank them. You don’t have to wax a lot of praises for their work.

Simply saying “thank you” or “good job” is not enough, be specific on where they have done right, where they can do better and most importantly, where they had exceed your expectations.

You should also make it a point to ensure that your gratitude is heartfelt and true.


If you want your team to work, you have to open opportunities for your team to engage with one another and collaborate. As their team leader or manager, it is up to you to make it easier for people to collaborate through one-on-one meetings.

Not only do these meetings emphasize that everyone is heard, but it also allows employees to get involved.

Being a manager is tough, here are some tips to help you sail through it:
Manager’s Abbreviation & Acronym
Signs Your Employees Think You Suck as a Manager
The Manager’s Secrets

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Ravisingh says:

    Hi Kally! I appreciate your insight on such Corporate matters.You are a perfect Mentor for Corporate employees.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Terrific topic and advice my friend,

      “Bosses” should expect resistance based on the “unknown.”

      If such meeting begin with Something like “What’s new in your life?” And display a sincere desire to get to know THEM better, before getting to the business aspects. And maybe even finding out what they prefer to drink (non-alcoholic) , and have it there for them would be a great opener.
      Think FRIENDLY, not ONLY positive.
      God Bless and Thanks Kally,


    2. Kally says:

      Thank you so much, Ravi Singh!


  2. If you do have to discuss for example poor performances, sales, late deadlines, you could try the ‘sandwich’ technique. This is where you give the good news, positive feedback and so on — then you go on to mention the negative/bad stuff briefly and finish with more strong positive/good points i.e.
    Appreciate all your hard work to date (good/positive)
    and though we’re late with the deadline right now (bad/negative)
    we can do……… or if we do…….. we’ll be able to……… (good/positive

    Note the word ‘and’ after the good/positive feedback? Change that to ‘but’ for a second. By saying the word ‘but’ after any good news, you’ve just negated that good work? It’s like “You’ve done well — but!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Great suggestions! I love your input. I find this technique very useful as well. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome from one Caz to another!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you for sharing this out

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bea dM says:

    Excellent… as usual!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you, Bea!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pam Lazos says:

    Building camaraderie and teamwork capacity are so important. I think one-on-one meetings give you the confidence to do that in larger settings because you get to know people better on a smaller scale before moving out to a larger scale. Thanks, Kally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Thank you for sharing your insight with us, Pam.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pam Lazos says:

        Thanks, Kally. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good ideas, Kally! Lots here to rescue one-on-ones from annoyance and ineffectiveness.

    One technique that works for me, and which I, in turn use with others, is to offer occasional bits of random praise, with nothing negative lurking. Sure, the praise-challenge duo works at first, but it gets real old, real fast if the tactic gains exclusivity.

    My boss is example #1. Every time I hear something nice, I tense up, because I know something bad is coming next. To the point I begin to wonder if the praise is insincere, a mere formulaic prelude.

    Instead, stop by every once in a while, or send an email. “Nice job on X,” or, “Really like how you handled Y.”

    That’s it then. Walk away. No other shoe to drop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kally says:

      Oooo.. I totally love your suggestion and your way. I like to make my rounds on the floor and talk or chat with my team too. Even a simple gesture of asking what they had for lunch goes a long way.

      Liked by 1 person

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