Coaching, Leadership

Connect, Calibrate, Coach—More Tips for Productive One-on-Ones

In yesterday’s Advisor, Deidre Paknad shared the first three of her five tips for conducting effective one-on-one meetings. Today she reveals the final two topics every leader should be putting forward when meeting face-to-face with employees.

Paknad is CEO and cofounder of Workboard, and shapes its product strategy, customer engagement model, and thought leadership efforts. With decades of experience leading enterprise and startup teams on strategic pursuits, Deidre is passionate about providing tools and insights that help leaders engage their teams in great achievement.

  1. Up-level to longer-range goals. Help people balance long- and short-term requirements, another key part of the management job. This helps people connect with the bigger picture, which is especially rejuvenating when workloads are high. Realign on priorities so employees can have confidence; their work and time are valuable.


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  1. Coach for career growth. Help employees get to their next level, and help to deepen their skills and competencies. What’s the next step they can take, and what will you do to help them get there? How big the step is will depend on the cadence of your conversations and level. Follow through on the help you’ll provide, and you will have a lasting, positive impact on the person’s career.

Done well and consistently, one-on-ones make year-end performance reviews a nonevent—there are no surprises, everyone has the same facts at hand, and performance is wholly understood. Unlike annual reviews, one-on-ones give people the input and opportunity to improve performance.


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Between one-on-ones, follow through on your commitments to remove roadblocks and enable growth. To be most efficient and effective, managers at thousands of companies use apps like Workboard to prepare for one-on-ones, calibrate on performance and alignment in the meeting, and create agendas that journal the topics and takeaways that come up meeting to meeting, so it’s easy to follow up and look back.

Different personalities, skill sets, and performance levels make one-on-ones diverse and sometimes challenging. Like everything else, consistency and practice will vastly improves your skillfulness and effectiveness in one-on-one conversations. As a manager, your ability to execute through your team either limits or accelerates your career, so with one-on-ones, it’s great to remember that practice makes perfect. .