4Know Your People—One On Ones

Manager Tools recommends that you hold One On Ones with each of your directs. What is a Manager Tools One On One? It is a meeting

  1. That is scheduled
  2. That is held weekly
  3. That lasts for 30 minutes
  4. That is held with each of your directs
  5. In which the direct's issues are primary
  6. In which the manager takes notes

Let's take each one of these components in turn and discuss why we recommend them.


Scheduling One On Ones means setting up a recurring appointment with each of your directs so that each of them is set to have the O3 with you at the same time every week.

Scheduling your O3s is actually more important than having them weekly. That's why it's first on our list. It is more important to schedule your One On Ones than to have One On Ones almost every week that are unscheduled. The value of having One On Ones is that by doing this you are saying to your directs, “You're always going to have time with me. I'm always going to be investing in the relationship.” If you don't schedule your One On Ones, you're saying to your directs, “This might be important in a given week. You might be important, and the time with me might be valuable to me. I don't know. Let's play it by ear. We'll see how things go.”

We originally thought that frequency of O3s would be more important than the scheduling of them, but we were wrong.

Here's what our research showed. (We've repeated similar results three times.) If we compare two groups of 100 managers who actually ...

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