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Addressing a Common Leadership Challenge: Finding Time for Employees

Leadership ChallengesI often hear leaders in my workshop complain that they just can’t make the time to meet with their employees on a regular basis; especially when they have a larger group. While I agree that it takes time to meet with employees, and it is something that might more easily be pushed aside for other duties, that time must be made if we are going to be effective as leaders and engage our employees in the workplace. One-on-one meetings as well as team meetings are essential to keep employees engaged, motivated, and ensure progress toward meeting goals. Additionally, these meetings enable for employees to build strong working relationships with you as well as their colleagues.

Here are suggested ways to structure one-on-one meetings as well as team meetings to ensure they are productive and effective for both you and your employees.

One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings should be focused on the individual employee. Use this time for professional development opportunities, discuss employee goals and get in on individual projects and initiatives on which the employee is working. These meetings should be 45 – 60 minutes in length. Allocate time for the employee to share whatever they may want to share, or for them to get guidance in solving problems or resolving conflicts. This is your opportunity to get to know your employee on a personal basis and build a strong working relationship between you and your staff member.

One-on-one meetings should be held weekly for newer, more junior employees and may be bi-weekly for more senior employees who need less guidance.

Team Meetings

Team meetings are the opportunity for the entire team/workgroup/department to get together. Use this time to check in on team initiatives, share and ensure understanding of team goals and resolve larger team issues or conflicts. Use this time to determine and agree on more effective ways to get work done; share best practices and knowledge among the team. This is a great opportunity for the team members to nurture and build relationships with each other.

Team meetings should be held monthly for at least an hour in duration.

And, as a best practice – schedule both one-on-one and team meetings early on in the year for the entire year. This way the meetings are on your calendar and more likely to remain. When leaders schedule meetings as needed, they are more difficult to fit into their schedules.

Don’t forgot to be present for one-on-one and team meetings – no phones, interruptions or checking email. Commit to the time for the meeting!

What are your best practices to be sure that you are regularly meeting one-on-one with employees and ensuring productive and effective team meetings.