Do you hold weekly one-on-one check-in meetings with each of your direct reports? Many managers instead rely on ad hoc meetings or group meetings instead, but regular one-to-one's are an essential tool in a manager's toolkit.
Whether you're managing staff or volunteers, one-to-one meetings will give you a "forum" for management - providing a regular time to touch base about the work each member of your team is doing, ask probing questions, serve as a resource, balance priorities, and give feedback. Here are a few keys to making these one-to-ones as useful as possible:
- Have your team member send an agenda ahead of time. Here's one good template to use, which will ensure that you cover the main goals for the week, debriefing past projects, and other key items.
- Take a few minutes before the meeting to think through what you most want to talk about. (Don't just rely on the team member's agenda to the exclusion of your own items.)
- Don't just go over a laundry list of items in progress - ask probing questions to find out how projects are really going.
Do you have a check-in system that keeps your team operating smoothly? Share in the comments on our blog!
Alison Green writes for The Management Center and is the co-author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results.