The importance of One on One

When you are in a leadership position of any kind, you are focused on the success of the people you lead. One of the key metrics that should be tracked is the health and happiness of the people you lead. It is important as a humane thing to do and it helps with Retaining People.

The question that comes to mind is: How do I achieve this?

One of the helpful ways to achieve this is by conducting one on one meetings.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on unsplash

Goals of One on One meetings

Here are the goals of this meeting as I see them:

  • Giving the person you are meeting the feeling they are being heard
  • Let the person you are meeting share their situation, in their own words
  • Hopefully get some feedback
  • Genuinely care for others

Meeting rules

In order to save you time, I will sum up the rules mentioned in that post:

  • No miss!
  • No Agenda on my part
  • Be on time, and stick to time
  • Listen carefully and take an actionable

No miss!

No Agenda on my part

Be on time and stick to time

Listen carefully and take actionable


Direct is meeting with people reporting directly to you, or people you have direct influence on. Skip is meeting with people one level below. In other words, people that are direct of your directs. I suggest that direct meetings will be held weekly. The reason for a weekly meeting is the fact people tend to accumulate things over the work week, and giving space once a week to share that works well, it might not work best in your case, but from my experience it is a good balance between too often, and too sparse.

Skip meetings should be either monthly or quarterly. It depends on the size of the organization, culture and quality of your directs. Personally I do quarterly, but your mileage may vary. The same meeting rules from above apply to skip meetings but with greater emphasis on the fact you basically want to listen. You should remember your skip people might not see you often, and the larger the organization is, the clearer it should be you only want to spend some quality time to get to know them better. In some places, being called for a 1:1 with your managers manager can mean only bad things, try to make it clear things do not work that way in your organization.


Spending 30 minutes, uninterrupted and driven by the other person meeting seems to me like the best approach, but as I mentioned before, it is more of a specific preference rather than a rule. All in all, the content and your attitude are far more important than the time slot you allocated to the meeting.


Originally published at on December 31, 2020.

People, Process, Tooling

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