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Why 1:1 meetings are not working?

According to Gallup survey, team members having regular 1:1 meetings are 3 times likely to be more engaged compared to those who do not have regular 1:1 meetings with their managers.

In its famous internal initiative called Project Oxygen, Google found that manager with higher score are more likely to have regular 1:1 meetings with their team members.

Given the overwhelming evidence towards having frequent 1:1 meetings, below are some of the reasons as to why such meetings fail to deliver desired results:

  1. No shared agenda - Seeking input for the agenda from the team member makes the 1:1 meetings more participative and exciting to look forward to.
  2. Too much focus on status updates - Managers should never treat 1:1 meetings as a daily stand up meeting by just focusing on the status updates.
  3. Frequent cancellation and rescheduling - Mindfulness about team member's time shows that you care. Frequent cancellation and rescheduling renders the effort that team members put in for preparing for these 1:1 meetings.
  4. No followup on action items from previous meeting - Lack of follow up on at least few items agreed in the previous meeting sends a signal that the 1:1 meetings are a mere formality and the manager is not genuinely interested in the progress.
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