One on Ones: The Best Way to Give a DamnComments Off

Frankly Dear

I recently had a chance to catch up with Jon Birdsong, the CEO of Rivalry, to get his insights on on how the best Managers show their employees that they really do give a damn. Here’s a recap of what he had to share:

Talent Management and HR Tech has recently produced an offspring of software solutions around employee engagement. One solution might offer badges for superior performance, another automatically gifts a card (via a distant email) to an employee’s favorite coffee shop via email.

“Engaging” employees has little concern around automating rewards and badges. At its truest core, it’s about relationships: a real relationship between a manager and his/her direct reports. Trust, respect, fear, vulnerability, and faith — just to name a few — mash together and create a bond sacred to the individual participants. Spending more time with office colleagues than our family should places significant priority on the quality of our relationships. Yet, too many managers forget their first job: let their teammates know “I give a damn.”

“I care about your development.” “I’m focused on your path to success.” “Your future is something I constantly think about.” “I give a damn about you!”

Demonstrating you care happens when we spend quality time together. In the professional world, this is performed through weekly One on Ones.

We are all busy. As fires come up, One on Ones are the first meetings that get pushed to the “Land of Laters.”

One on Ones are a weekly or bi-weekly meeting, 30-minutes long with a set agenda between the manager and the direct report. It’s what really good managers do. One on Ones are not performance reviews.

How does a manager make sure their One on Ones are productive and even happen? There are 3 very simple steps.

1. Preparation.

The One on One is for the direct report. To make the most out of this sacred 30 minutes a week, they need to be prepared as much as the manager. A best practice is to have the direct reports send over an agenda of the One on One 24 hours before it takes place. Understanding the structure of the One on One beforehand will provide clarity in topics to cover. At Rivalry, we subscribe to Manager Tools’ 10:10:10 philosophy. 10 minutes for the direct report. 10 minutes for the manager. 10 minutes for the week ahead. A well prepared One on One will have a set agenda reviewed by both the manager and the direct report before entering the meeting. Both parties will be ready to discuss follow up items from the last meeting, current items of the moment, and game plan the week ahead.

2. Execution.

Assuming proper preparation has taken place, the manager and direct report have a sound idea of what will be discussed in the weekly One on One. The art of leadership is leveraged to its greatest point in the physical meeting. One on Ones are meant to build relationships. Sitting down and reading through a prescribed agenda helps frame the conversation, but it does not dictate it. Does an actor or actress on stage read their script while performing? No and either should you. Listening to your direct report is the only way to understand. A well-executed One on One has the first 10 minutes squarely focused on whatever the individual report would like to discuss. Reciprocally, the second 10 minutes revolves around the manager’s priorities for the individual rep. Lastly, a strategic game plan is set forth for the upcoming week ahead.

Structure your one on ones using the 10:10:10 rule and you’ll wish you had another hour.

3. Follow Up

Discipline is a requirement of leadership. Holding yourself and direct reports accountable to the agreed up actions of the week if extremely difficult. Good managers have it documented somewhere, great managers remind each direct report what is expected before the next meeting. Following up from a One on One is even harder than having them. Hopefully your One on Ones are scheduled on the calendar. Following up on agreed upon deliverables takes a degree of weekly routine and discipline not found with many managers.

At the end of each weekly One on One, a group of deliverables should agreed upon. The direct reports states, “this is something I will get done” or vice versa from the manager. Two individuals have expectations an action item will get done before the next meeting. 4 days after the meeting and 3 days before the next One on One, a manager should check with each direct report on the status of that deliverable.

Simply put, great managers follow up. One on Ones are the greatest communication platform a manager can provide to their direct reports. Scheduling time and prioritizing One on Ones is the first step in giving a damn.

I highly encourage you to check out Rivalry. Companies including General Electric, At&t, IBM, and NCR use Rivalry for their weekly One on Ones. Rivalry makes sure One on Ones happen, are productive, and documented.

Talent HQ is a premier information channel empowering professional development for recruiting and HR communities through regional events including Minnesota RecruitersWisconsin RecruitersFlorida Recruiters and California Recruiters.

About Jason Buss

Talent HQ’s creator and editor is Recruiting & Diversity Leader, Jason Buss. Talent HQ is a premier online news and information channel for the Recruiting and Human Resources community.

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  • Posted on: Monday, August 10th, 2015