How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams. Part 5: Harnessing the Power of One On Ones


This is in my experience one of the key strategies that should be implemented while leading remote teams


One on one communication – there’s never been a time in recent history than right now for leaders to ensure they’re deliberately taking regular time to communicate with their key people one on one.  

All great organisations, businesses, and teams are built upon one on one communication.

As you know, the COVID19 pandemic has thrust the world into chaos and uncertainty. Leaders and their people are having to rapidly grapple with not only how to pivot their business or company to ensure their survival but are also needing to focus their attention on the massive changes to their home front. Not only are their people working in isolation from team members and the office environment at home, but also in many cases they’re homeschooling their kids, with or without a partner, who are going a little stir crazy due to all the COVID19 restrictions forced upon them. Plus add to this all the anxiety and worry many are feeling with this crisis situation – homes of employees right now can often be a hotbed of emotions and noise – emotions and noise that are a major distraction to them working effectively at home in isolation.

Crystal-clear communication from leaders is like oxygen right now for businesses and teams and the most powerful way for leaders to effectively communicate through the noise of COVID19 is one on one communication.

If you’ve been following this blog series, “How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams”, I’ve touched on communication techniques so far and will continue to do so in upcoming blogs, but I want to single out one on one communication in particular as it’s the most effective leadership strategy I utilise to drive high performance from people and teams.

All my clients have found the one on one process to be a valuable and positive experience.

The greatest challenge with the one on one process is that you must take the time to make it happen. To build a successful organisation, you build it one on one.

I believe this blog will stimulate and agitate you to think deeply about just how important and effective they can be in your organisation as a leadership strategy, particularly when it comes to leading your remote team during this crisis.

A One On One is as the name implies – it’s spending one on one time with each of the key members of your team. Since 2003 when Leadership Dynamics launched, I’ve done 17,000 plus one on ones in my businesses and for my clients, and it leads to staggering growth both in the people I lead and ultimately the bottom line as a result of the growth of individuals who become more effective in their roles.  It also strengthens the relationship in the chain of command.

When you grow people, you will grow your team and your organisation. 

The product is not the product; the product is your people.  When you truly appreciate this, then you’ll really maximise the performance of your people and accomplish the vision you have for your business.

Have you established a one on one process?

How good are you at connecting one on one?

How many one on one’s do you do a month with your key leaders?

How many one on one’s do you do a month with your emerging leaders?

The Benefits of the One On One Process
I’m so convicted about the one on one process – there are so many benefits when you take the time to speak one on one with your key people and have a face to face meeting and have an open and honest discussion (trust builds over time the more you do one on ones).  Below are my key benefits of the one on one process.  

The One on One process:
1.     Maximises the communication channel between the chain of command and their key people.
2.     Enables you to clearly implant your vision in each individual – aligns the team to achieve it.
3.     Allows you to set clear and concise expectations of what you expect as the leader
4.     Drives the purpose and values of the organisation. 
5.     Provides you with vital information about individuals that you may not have been aware of in relation to their Emotional Scale (have a read of my last blog in this series for more information about this.) and allows you to move help move them up on the scale, building their heart and spirit.
6.     Allows the leader the opportunity to utilise their influence to drive the right behaviours and thinking to achieve more effective results.
7.     Empowers individuals when you praise and affirm to them about what they are doing right – grows belief, actions and trust in you as the leader.
8.     Builds endurance, through support from the leader.
9.     Grows courage in individuals
10.   Grows desire to be an effective team member and to grow as an individual.
11.   Increases the level of commitment from individuals to accept the responsibility they’ve been given.
12.  Creates deliberate and focussed thinking when you develop goals and strategies with each key individual. 
13.  Drives the accountability of team members to do what they committed to doing.
14.  Grows trust between the leader and the individual over time (the longer the process continues, the more trust is built. Trust fuels a greater performance.).
15.  Grows respect to you as the leader and from you back to the team member.
16.  Grows loyalty to you as the leader and back to the team member.
17.  Grows your influence as the leader.
18. Grows unity within your team – unifies behaviours and thinking and identifies and deals with any potential issues, reducing conflict.
19.  Allows the leader to determine who’s really committed and who isn’t.
20.  Identifies emerging leaders.
21.  Identifies non-leaders.

Where could the One On One process be of particular benefit to you right now?

Who do you need to schedule one on one time with formally?

As you can see from the list above, deliberate face to face, one on one communication contact is vital for any organisation, business and team, though right now, in this crisis and leading remote teams, it’s beyond vital. Communications such as emails, texts and group Zoom meetings, while good and important, as I’ll cover in the next blog, won’t be sufficient to ensure effective communication to achieve the results you want to achieve. 

Your people working in isolation, in lockdown, without regular and deliberate one on one communication from their leader will lead to them feeling detached, unheard, uncared-for and alone, which hinders an effective performance for you. 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care”.
US President, Theodore Roosevelt.

The One On One process is a serious leadership strategy to power high performance from your team – I don’t believe there is a more effective way to lead your team. However, for it to really be effective, there are some key factors that you must put into place.  

An Effective One on One Process
1. The One on One process must have formality:
·       It must be scheduled, and it must be prioritised by both parties.
·       As the leader, take notes that are then formally typed up and sent to the individual to read and work on and draw encouragement from until your next meeting.  This increases accountability and respect within that individual.

2. The One On One process must have a disciplined rhythm – I find a monthly rhythm is best – with each individual prioritising it in their calendar.  A regular rhythm is important to build momentum – momentum is key to building a successful organisation. 

Does your one on one process have formality?

Does your one on one process have a disciplined rhythm?

If you’ve been reading my blogs over the years, you’ll know I constantly affirm the immense benefit of the one on one process. 

Can I encourage you to seriously take some time to consider carving out some time for you, (and if applicable, your remote key leaders), to make regular and deliberate one on one communication with your remote key people?

If you have any questions, please email me at or join our Facebook Page and message me or post a question to the group.

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

Take care and keep climbing.


Here are the links to the other blogs in this “How to Successfully Lead Your Remote Team” series:
Part 1: How to Ensure Your People Stay Focussed on the Vision
Part 2: Setting Clear Expectations and Driving Accountability to Them
Part 3: Growing and Transferring Trust
Part 4: Caring Where Your People Are on the Emotional Guidance Scale

If you’d like to follow the Leadership Dynamics Facebook Page, my team and I are organising some online events to thrash out issues like leading your teams remotely, in more detail.  Stay tuned. Click here for the link to my Leadership Dynamics Page.

I’ve been leading remote teams globally since 1994. In one of my businesses, I now have remote teams in 28 countries, with a sales force of 15,000, in 12 languages. I’m also the Founder of Leadership Dynamics Australia which provides leadership strategies for SME’s and professional sporting organisations in Australia since 2003.  I’ve used the strategies outlined in this blog series, “How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams” since 1994 to great effect.


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