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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

October - 2007 - issue > People Manager

Power of One-on-One Conversations

C. Mahalingam
Monday, October 1, 2007
C. Mahalingam
Imagine this scene: An employee coming up with a piece of folded paper in his hand, seeking a 5 minutes meeting with his manager. Manager receives the employee and glances at the A4 clutched in his hands. He exactly knows what is in store.. yes employee is breaking the news of his wanting to leave! Well in the technology era, more likely scenario is employee sending in his resignation by mail and the manager waking up to this bad news and summoning the employee for a chat. When this happens, our manager is willing to postpone another important meeting, reschedule his travel by a day, and perhaps is willing to spend a couple of hours talking to the employee concerned, getting the HR and other Senior Managers as well to talk to him.

Now, turn your attention to this employee wanting to leave. He is completely nonplussed by this unusual behavior although he can rationalize it! His account is that, “ well, I have been asking my manager for a one-on-one for 30 minutes for the last 6 months, and my manager has been too busy to grant me this! How come he is willing and able to spend hours together today?”

Power of Periodic One-on-Ones:
If you are a manager of people, then you should not be surprised by what is stated above. If you are part of HR, you would not be surprised either since this is what many exit interviews bring out. The power of periodic one-on-ones with employees cannot be overemphasized. One-on-ones are scheduled short meetings that first line managers are encouraged to have with their employees, one at a time. Assuming a team leader has 10 employees reporting to him or her, there still is a possibility to do one-on-ones with each of these 10 folks once every month. Collectively this will take a little over 3 hours per month but the amount of good will and information this will generate for the manager is immensely huge and invaluable.

Why these One-on-Ones do not happen?
The oft-quoted reasons by the people managers as why they do not hold these meetings are as follow:
* I meet my employees everyday in the course of work. I do not need these special meetings!

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