March 1, 2010

One-on-one meetings

I've been fortunate to work for a lot of great bosses. But my favorite boss was probably Molly, who managed me for a couple of years when I worked for Kaplan. Molly taught our whole team to be "Service Warriors," always thinking first about our students and teachers. She made us little signs that said "Service Warrior" that we hung in our cubicles. When we had tough decisions to make, Molly always pushed us to do whatever delivered excellent service. How inspiring!

Another of Molly's techniques that I always loved was her weekly one-on-one meetings that she held with each of her staff. They were 30 minutes and were a great opportunity to check in on projects, goals, successes and areas that needed improvement.

Little did I know that Molly, at that time in her mid 20s, was exhibiting serious management best practice. If you have employees, weekly one-on-ones are an incredible tool to build trust and improve communication with your team. Manager Tools has a great series of podcasts about how to implement this simple but effective tactic.

It is very easy to take your employees for granted, or to think that your communication is good just because you chat from time to time. But weekly, concentrated communication with each one of your directs about the issues that are important to them shows that they matter to you.