Managing performance is a key component of every manager’s job. Successful managers collaborate with their employees to establish challenging goals at the beginning of the year and commit to consistently scheduled 1:1 meetings to review progress and provide direct feedback.


That’s right, regular 1:1 meetings that both managers and employees can look forward to.

I’ve been privileged in my career to facilitate management development programs across a variety of business sectors targeting all levels of management; from first time supervisor to senior vice president. I can tell you there are a lot of management tools and resources out there to help managers engage and inspire their immediate employees. People have made it their life’s work to propose models, steps, and processes addressing employee productivity and motivation. It’s been my experience, however, that one tool or action is sorely underutilized – the conversation.

At the end of a management development program I typically ask participants to identify their key take-away or learning. I know I’ve gotten through when I hear something to the effect of “I need to schedule more frequent 1:1 meetings with my staff”. Yes! Successful people management requires establishing supportive and respectful relationships. To foster this, managers need to set aside time to get to know their employees, outline expectations and provide performance feedback. A few best practices to consider:

  • Agree on a time frame that works for both of you. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly for 30 – 60 minutes
  • Prepare an agenda. Nothing fancy, just a few bullet points of items to review and make each other aware of
  • If either the manager or employee needs to miss the meeting, reschedule immediately so that the meeting does not “fall off” the calendar

Whether in person, by phone or video conference, hold each other accountable to talking together. You’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished.