How to Facilitate Great “One-On-One” Supervisory Meetings


Meeting with your staffers on an individual basis to discuss their performance is an important part of being a supervisor and a leader. However, these meetings do not only have to be a means to critique your employees from an evaluation standpoint. “One-on-one” meetings can foster a rewarding mentoring relationship as well as a means by which to engage your staffers as a true partner in meeting the mission and vision of your organization.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful in facilitating great “one-on-one” supervisory meetings:

1. Set the Parameters for Meeting Participation – As a part of the hiring process and during staff training, set the parameters for what is expected during one-on-one supervisory meetings. By setting the tone that these meetings are important and participatory in nature, your staffers will embody this as part of the team’s culture and act accordingly. Tell them that they should come prepared with feedback, questions, and suggestions for making your organization better. As I tell my own staff, I don’t want to hear complaining for complaining’s sake; if there’s a better way to do something, I want a suggestion, solution, or plan of action.

2. Always Keep Your Appointments with Your Staffers – This seems like common sense, but it is very easy to get sidetracked by other important meetings and activities and either forgot or attempt to reschedule your supervisory meetings. By making this time important, you are symbolically demonstrating that these meetings and, more importantly, your staffers are crucial to you and your team’s success.

3. Purposely Seek Out Feedback to Enact Change – Allowing for and seeking out honest feedback from your employees is a great way to keep your employees engaged in continuous improvement conversations. People take a part in what they help create so allow them to help create team goals, policies, and practices during regularly scheduled supervisory meetings. Be a servant leader and ask them how you can better help them in their position and if they need any particular type of resource or support so that they can be more effective.

4. Have an “Activity” Planned if There is Nothing to Talk About – If there is nothing of note to discuss, do not simply cancel the meeting. Utilize the opportunity to connect with and mentor your staffers. One-on-one meetings can be used for personal development and skills building. Have a “bag of tricks” developed that you can utilize quickly and easily if you’re stuck in one of these “I-have-nothing-to-talk-about” situations. Skills building activities can include role playing and case scenarios related to topics pertaining to your staffers’ positions. Using this time for brainstorming can also create productive ideas for the entire team.

One such example of a “one-on-one” activity is the Supervisory Discussion Cards activity developed by Student Life Consultants. These handy cards contain multiple questions that are conversation starters related to personal development and teamwork. Each set of 25 double-sided cards contains 50 questions and comes complete with a four-page PDF activity handout that is downloaded immediately upon purchase.

Use the SLG032013 code to receive $3.99 off of your entire order.

What are some practices that you use with your employees to facilitate great “one-on-one” supervisory meetings? What advice can you offer to your colleagues related to what works and does not work for “one-on-one” supervisory meetings?

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