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.
I’ve heard a few stories of late from people unhappy with the level of interference they are experiencing from managers who insist on particular ways of working. Ranging from detailed lists to hourly check-ins, this micromanagement undermines trust and subtracts value from both people and processes. It brings to mind several quotations but this one serves my purpose eloquently:
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
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.