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Regular one-on-one meetings provide managers with an opportunity to head off problems and efficiently answer the many small, quick questions that arise during the workweek. In this course, Dave Crenshaw shows you how to establish a one-on-one meeting schedule and agenda, assign and review actions items, and assess the results of the meeting and follow up on promises. The course also explains how to effectively listen to employees' needs and when to offer training and development.
After you open the one-to-one meeting, the first item on the agenda is to follow up on any delegated items. I recommend that you bring a list of the items, either paper or digital, that you delegated to the person. Begin the meeting by asking about each one of those delegated items. Then, as appropriate, give them praise or correction depending on their results. Keep your comments brief to keep the meeting moving along. So, if the other person completed the delegated task, a simple "great" or "good job" is enough.
Then, for any item where you feel it appropriate, follow that positive statement with a simple question: What did you gain from doing this? This will give the other person a moment to pause and reflect about the work that they did. It also creates a mini teaching moment for them to share with you any insights that will make future work or delegation easier. I recommend you ask this question when it feels appropriate to you. A little bit will go a long way.
Now, what if they didn't complete the delegated item? Then the most effective follow-up question I found is something like this: What stood in the way of completing this? This is much more effective than asking a why question, such as, why didn't you do this? Why is a very strong word, and often, it carries with it the assumption of personal blame. Why often implies, why weren't you good enough to do this? Why were you a failure? By substituting what stood in the way for why, you're leaving open the possibility to many different reasons that could have kept the person from completing their assigned task.
After they answer, you'll have a greater knowledge about how to help them complete the task, as well as correct future missteps. Keep follow-up positive, brief, and focused on actions and results. If you need to correct someone for not completing a delegated item, I recommend you always follow up the correction with sincere praise. By following this simple pattern, you'll become someone that's a trusted resource, rather than a demanding taskmaster.
People will welcome your insight and become more forthcoming about errors when they happen. Remember, the purpose of the one-to-one meeting is to strengthen the communication between you and the other person and coordinate your efforts. This simple method to follow up on delegated items will keep your relationships smooth and ensure that there is accountability for assigned tasks.
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