Leadership Dynamics

The Power Of One On Ones

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To build a successful business or organisation, you build it one on one.

To do anything significant, you can’t do it on your own – you need a high-performance team around you, who’s constantly growing and improving.  They more they grow and develop, the more your business grows as a result.

The most powerful leadership strategy that I use to grow and develop people is the One On One Process.

Essentially, the One On One Process, as the name suggests, is when you schedule formal time to sit down individually with each of your key people, with a certain agenda you want to discuss, depending on what’s going on in your business at the time.

Since 1988, I’ve done over 15,000 One On One’s for my own businesses and for those of my clients to significant effect.  The value I place on the One On One Process is incalculable.

There are some stand out benefits of the One On One Process that are the key reasons why I keep utilising this highly effective leadership strategy to grow teams and businesses.  Let me cover some of the key one’s for you. The One On One Process:

Allows you to clearly cast your vision for the business to each team member, explaining their role in achieving it and answering any questions or concerns they may have about it.  Each meeting you have with each team member, you can keep coming back to the Vision, sharing your beliefs and hope for the future – this is empowering for your team and helps to keep all your team pulling together, working hard to achieve the vision, day in and day out. It’s an effective way to get your Vision out of a document or off the wall in the foyer! And a Vision Launch can only do so much – people forget in the busyness of business!  You need to live and breathe it daily and reinforce it in the One On Ones.


How do you plant your Vision within your people and bringing them back to it?


Allows you to set clear expectations for each team member in achieving the vision and the keeping them accountable to fulfilling your expectations, helping them along the way if they need.  When your team are unclear of what you expect or are unsure of how to proceed, performance suffers. When you can give them clarity of the outcomes you need from them, and then discuss the way forward and address any concerns your team member or yourself have, productivity and morale escalate as there is no guess work, a plan has been made and they feel valued and heard. Gold.


Are your people clear as to what you expect from them?

Do they have a clear plan as to how to achieve this?


Allows you to know what’s really going on for your people.  A one on one situation provides the opportunity to properly communicate and find out what’s going on for them at work and at home and discover where they are emotionally.  If people are emotionally low – on the lower end of the Emotional Scale – because for example, they’ve got a sick child at home, or they feel like they’re drowning under the pressure at work – they won’t perform at their best for you.  As the leader, if you want the maximum performance from your team (plus it’s the caring thing to do!), you need to help team members move up the Emotional Scale into the positive end.

Do you really know what’s going on for your key people? Do you know where they’re at emotionally?

Is a highly effective communication channel. The one on one situation provides the perfect forum for team members to clearly communicate what’s on their heart and mind (this will increase as trust builds over time), particularly regarding work concerns, and it allows you to do the same.  No one can get lost in the crowd of a group meeting and feel intimidated to ask a question or have a discussion in front of the group.  There is no better way to ensure a clear and transparent communication pathway to keep you and your team truly connected.


How effective are you at communicating with your people?

Are there opportunities for your people to communicate with you?


Is effective at duplicating right thinking and behaviours.  When you’ve set your Vision and discussed your expectations, this naturally leads to the thinking and behaviours you want to see in relation to achieving these and it’s an effective forum to keep your team member accountable for their actions.


What process do you use to duplicate the thinking and behaviours you’d like your team to adopt?


Increases Accountability. The One On One Process results in committed decisions being made due to the increased accountability the process provides. In the one on one meeting, team members agree on and commit to certain goals, achievements and behaviours and know that at each one on one meeting, they’ll need to give a report on the progress/achievement of each of them.  What doesn’t get inspected doesn’t get respected, so the One On One Process is a highly effective tool at driving accountability in your business.


What is the level of accountability like in your business or team?


It changes the heart and spirit of a person, builds trust, respect and loyalty and, increases unity and harmony.  As you’re taking the time to meet with each of your team members one on one, each individual feels valued and heard (as long as you listen to them!) and this builds their heart and spirit on the inside and the more you meet, the more you build them up. As you do this, the trust that forms between you and your team members grows, which is invaluable.  Without trust, you won’t get to where you want to go in a hurry, if at all.  And as trust builds, respect and loyalty are a natural flow-on benefit and so is unity and harmony, as the team is pulling together, for you and each other.


What’s the level of trust, respect and loyalty in your team or business like?


Builds your influence as the leader.  Influence is everything as a leader because without it, you’ll have no one truly following you. As you persist with the One On One Process, and the benefits I’ve outlined above come to fruition, it’s natural that the level of your influence increases with the people you lead.  When you add value to and develop your people, when you build them up on the inside and show you care, when you listen to and value them, they trust you and are loyal to you and thus your level of influence with your team increases as their desire to follow you grows.


 How would you describe the level of your influence with the people you lead?


Dealing one on one with people is a leadership skill that is learnt over many years of doing it, so persevere!   People’s energy levels will be influenced by how effectively you communicate one on one with them.  Positive motivation will move those people you surround yourself with, towards something that you want to have happen. It allows you to give people what they need – belief, courage, desire, persistence, goals, purpose and values, focus and commitment.  It’s a pretty awesome process and it’s a major change agent to lead your people so don’t give up.


To ensure your One On One Process is truly effective, reaping the benefits as I’ve outlined above, I have two golden rules:

  1. Keep it formal. Formally schedule the meeting and make it a priority.  Don’t cancel or re-schedule it.  Take notes that are typed up and given to the team member as a record of the meeting, its discussion points, commitments made etc. Go over these notes at the start of your next One On One.
  2. Keep it regular. I like to have a monthly rhythm with my team members and those of my clients. I feel this works best to allow time for achieving goals and at the same time, keeping people accountable and on task.

Often, what holds leaders back from doing One On One’s is finding the time.  They can often get put on the back burner as leaders perceive many other tasks more important, when however, they are probably the single biggest weapon in their arsenal to employ to not only effectively function on a daily basis, but to grow the business into the future.

My advice is to either prioritise the time to do this yourself or bring in someone from outside the business who has the one on one leadership skills, who can formalise the entire process and strengthen communication within the organisation to drive accountability and respect (the 2 key platforms to a successful business or organisation).

So, in wrapping up today’s article on one of my most favourite leadership strategies, one that you’ll hear me speak about and refer back to many, many times, is the One On One process. It’s THE most effective Leadership Strategy that I’ve used to build my own businesses and those of my client’s, so can I encourage you to give the process a go and invest time and energy at implementing it into your own business.  You won’t regret it and you won’t look back.


To build a successful business, you build it one on one.

Take care and keep climbing,



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