One-on-one meeting is an important aspect of the supervisor and direct report relationship. These meetings offer a dedicated time for you to meet with your employees on an individual level. You can find ways to support them, talk through priorities, and discover areas for growth.

One must-do for these meetups is creating an agenda. This helps you have a plan and ensures you address everything you need to in an organized way. Keep reading for more ideas on what to include in your one-on-ones, as well as things you’ll want to avoid.


1. Do Use an Agenda

Having an agenda is key for a successful meeting. You can make sure you get to all the topics you want to address this way. It also gives you and your direct report a record of what was discussed. You should ask how they’ve been doing personally, talk about priorities, and list out areas for growth. Be sure to leave room for questions as well.

Do you have more than one direct report? A one-on-one meeting template can help you be consistent in your management style with each employee.

2. Do Create a Standing Meeting

Creating a standing appointment for your one-on-ones helps make sure they happen. A consistent placeholder also shows your employees the value you place in these meetings. While scheduling conflicts may occasionally arise, do your utmost to keep these appointments. If you cancel or postpone them too often, you’ll send the message that you don’t consider one-on-ones as important as other commitments.

It’s up to you to decide how often to hold one-on-one meeting. Some managers like to have one-on-ones weekly; others schedule them biweekly or even monthly. Consult with your direct reports and do what works best for you and them.

3. Do Give Feedback

One-on-ones are an ideal opportunity for offering feedback. Let your employee know the areas where they are succeeding and areas where you’d like to see growth. It’s helpful to both you and your employee that they where they stand. Don’t wait to give feedback until the annual review.

Likewise, seek feedback from your direct report. Ask how they are doing under your leadership. Are there any areas where you could support them better or things they wish you’d do differently? Do they need any extra help from you? Sometimes employees hesitate to speak up — let them know you’re open to feedback and encourage it.

4. Do Be Flexible

If you find your one-on-ones are getting stale, ask your direct report if they’d like to switch up the format. Just because you’ve always done it a certain way doesn’t mean it can’t change. Make sure the format works for each of you.

Ask them what is missing and what would be more effective for them. Maybe it’s shortening the meeting to a 30-minute check-in as opposed to an hour-long meeting. Perhaps it’s moving weekly meetings to biweekly ones. Find the groove that works best for you both, but maintain an overall structure for consistency.


1. Don’t Talk Over Your Employee

The one-on-one should be a chance for your employee to have the floor. Often, in other meetings, you might be the main speaker. Don’t talk over them in this meeting. If there are silences, don’t rush to fill them or move on. Give your employee space to voice their opinions and needs.

If you find it hard in the beginning, ask questions. Let your employee take the time they need to consider and answer them. This is especially helpful when looking at long-term goals or areas where they require support.

2. Don’t Make the Meeting a Checklist

Get to know your employee on a personal and professional level during this scheduled meetup. Understanding each other as people goes a long way toward building a strong working relationship. It also helps maintain trust and loyalty.

Ask what projects they are working on and where they might need support or resources. But don’t just ask for their checked-off list of assigned tasks. Rather, discuss progress toward larger goals and things they want to learn. Ask about time off and make sure they’re taking the opportunity to recharge.

3. Don’t Make It All About Growth

Growth and progress toward goals and project deadlines are important. And making sure to keep that progress on track is necessary. But be careful not to voice only constructive criticism and point out places they could do better. Offer praise and celebrate wins with them, too.

Hearing kudos for a job well done and gratitude for stepping in to help is meaningful to employees. Being recognized for a job well done can also give your direct reports a real confidence boost. By making them feel valued, your expressions of appreciation can also increase employee satisfaction and retention.

4. Don’t Forget Your Action Items

Don’t leave the meeting and forget your action items. This goes both ways, too! For manager and employee alike, it’s important to follow up on what you discussed in your meeting. Otherwise, what was the point of getting together?

Use your agenda to take notes and write in action items. At the start of your next meeting, let each other know what you’ve discovered or accomplished. For example, maybe your direct report has a question about the PTO policy. You can follow up with human resources to get that answer before you meet again.

One-on-one meeting is a valuable asset in your manager-employee relationship. Use these meetings to provide focused time with your employee. This applies to all areas of their work life, from areas that require support, to benefits, to priorities, to professional development. By following these dos and and avoiding the don’ts, you can make these meetings an important part of your management toolkit.