Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

Stop doing 1 to 1s

I’m all for you meeting regularly with the people that you lead. Indeed, one of the most common changes I see leaders and managers make as they assume more of a strategic role than a operational one, is they increase the numbers of these meetings, often quite considerably. However, please stop doing ‘1 to 1s’ or as they are sometimes referred, ‘121s’.

Resolving a paradox

How can I be asking you to keep or increase levels of meetings on the one hand but be strongly recommending you avoiding 121s? Easy. The clue is in the title. Got it yet?

If you carry on calling the important meetings you are having with staff 121s it will continue to suggest that they are not collaborative and that there is a ‘direction’ to these conversations. That direction is almost always going to be perceived to be from you (the boss) to the person you are meeting with, hence we get ‘One-to-one’. I would guess that setting this expectation isn’t your intent and indeed your team may be so well used to the label that they haven’t even realised it yet.

All change

It may be a really good idea if you change the words that you use to label these meetings, especially if they are not proving worthwhile in raising team performance. I’m not even wholly convinced these meetings need a title but if they do here are a couple of suggestions:

  • One with one
  • One and one
  • Performance meeting
  • Performance, Review and Planning meeting (PRPs perhaps?)
  • A quick catch up!!

The most important thing is that you actually hold these meetings. What you call them is of secondary importance. However, what you are setting as an expectation by what you call them, will certainly have some impact on the work that gets done in them.

Glenn Wallis is an experienced Executive Coach and Coach Developer who will help you improve your own results and those of your organisation. When you are ready to  raise your performance to the next level, find out more here

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