I’ve always found 1-on-1s an extremely powerful management tool. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, I am referring to a regular meeting with each of your first reports or your manager that is just the two of you maintaining the relationship, staying aligned, understanding goals and removing obstacles. Communication is a fundamental part of both leadership and management and it needs to be open, frequent and, importantly, two-way. A 1-on-1 is the perfect forum for ensuring this is being done effectively. It is not a team meeting. It is not a surrogate for some other project meeting you wish you’d had. It is about continual and constructive engagement, collaboration and growth.
A little bit of a rant this week. Recently there’s been a fair bit of chatter on LinkedIn and elsewhere debating the differences between a manager and a leader. It seems important to some people – typically those that see it as some sort of hierarchical transition. I have thrown my two-cents worth into the ring by stating “good managers lead and good leaders manage”. Surely it is an anachronistic folly to think that a manager can somehow be effective without demonstrating leadership qualities and, likewise, that a leader can get away with ignoring sound management practice.