As a leader, it’s vital that you understand your employees well so that you can guide them in their growth in your company. Today host John Laurito shares how a leader can make 1-on-1 meetings with employees compelling and ensure that they don’t feel neglected or dismissed. If you’re struggling with your 1-on-1’s this episode is perfect for you.
[0:54] A neglected skill that is important for leaders to have and hone
[2:51] Be consistent in holding the 1-on-1
[4:43] Take notes on what goes on during the meeting
[8:45] Operate on the assumption that everyone wants to succeed
[9:28] Remove the mental roadblocks
[11:35] Help them find the solution
[13:05] Give them feedback but make it actionable
[14:30] Wrap up your 1-on-1 with…
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! All right.
John Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today, yesterday, tomorrow, every day for the rest of your life. Welcome to 2022. I am thrilled to be here. I am very excited about what’s ahead. I’m sure you are too. And I’m really excited about what’s behind to, you know what I mean? So dunzo with all that stuff. Hopefully, we are soon to be out of the woods here. Fingers crossed. Big time. But seriously, everybody stay safe, healthy, and let’s make this a great great year. So what I want to talk about today is a question that I get a lot of time that I think it’s worth starting the new year with this as leaders.
John One of the most important skill sets, hard skills that you need as a leader is the ability to do an effective one-on-one meeting with people that you’re leading. And I find in working with leaders that this is oftentimes a skill that is neglected or just not developed for simple fact of we tend to do what we’ve just learned from other people. So we do the one on ones, the way that our leader did them with us, if they did them with us. Now I do know there’s many leaders who just don’t do regular one on one meetings with their team, with their subordinates. I think that’s a major mistake. I think it’s a there’s a tremendous amount that now I know some people may be saying, well, as I talk to my people every single day, I get it. But there’s certain things that a one on one meeting that you will cover and uncover that you’re not in those quick three minute, five minute, ten minute conversations that are specifically around a topic or an agenda that you need to talk about. So the purpose of a one on one is really for a few things.
John One, it’s for the purpose of the person that you’re leading to be able to have some time with you as the leader that’s uninterrupted. That is time where they can get answers to their question that they can get feedback, that they can give ideas. It’s for them as well as it’s for you as the leader to have an opportunity to lead and guide them and direct them and give them feedback and ask questions and get information and just from your purposes, the things that you’d want to get out of a one on one. So that said, it’s important that you have them now. What I will say, first of all, when you have a one on one with somebody most important is hold the one on one. There’s a really loud message that gets sent when you cancel these meetings, and I know sometimes it’s just unavoidable.
John You’ve got travel, you got different things that are going on, but do your best to stay as consistent as possible because know that there is a message that is sent, especially if you do it over and over again, because that person is bound to feel like you don’t value them or their last on the list, or whatever the case may be, there will definitely be some sort of unintended message oftentimes that goes to them that they’re receiving. Secondly is when you have a one on one with them, be focused, be attentive, be focused on them. I told you the story of when I started in the business. For those you might not have heard this episode where I chose to move to an entirely different office of Ameriprise because my leader who was hiring me into that one office would never pay attention to me. In a one on one, we would have these meetings. I go in for a scheduled meeting. He would never look at me. He’d have his back turned to me and he’d be doing emails and I’m like, Hello. What? I don’t? Is this a bad time?
John So it just sent another powerful message to me that I just wasn’t important. I was last on his list now. I was twenty two year old punk at that time. Whatever, maybe I was last on his list, but he could have just paid attention to me and I left his office. I moved down to South Jersey because of that fact. Truly, it just it created this really sour taste in my mouth. I said, You know, I’m not going to, I’m not going to put my blood, sweat and tears into something for some and help somebody else succeed because of my success if they’re not willing to invest in me. And that was to me, a big message of that person wasn’t going to. So bottom line is be very present. Secondly, I see a mistake that leaders make is that they’re just kind of there. They’re having these meetings regularly, whatever. Maybe it’s monthly, weekly, bi weekly, whatever. And they’re not they’re not taking any notes or anything. I think that’s a big mistake unless you’re one of these people that has a memory like an elephant.
John I don’t know if elephants actually really do have great memories. I don’t know if that’s the case button errors, if you do great more. Power to you, but ninety nine point nine percent of people don’t. I use this thing, this is my. We pause for a station commercial break. The remarkable, the remarkable to actually not just the remarkable, the remarkable to which I’m holding up for you on YouTube to be able to see is an ingenious device. It’s remarkable. It’s remarkable. I seriously, I think single handedly I’m responsible for I’m going to say a hundred remarkable is being purchased around the country because all the people, all my clients, everybody, I tell about it because it is great. I used to be this guy. I don’t have them within reach, but I used to have have them there in my office stacks and stacks of these notebooks, these black notebooks. I used the same ones for years and I would go to OfficeMax or Staples, and I get them and I get a pile and I would just go through them. That would be my notepad. So in a one on one with somebody and I took notes. Some people don’t, but I took notes all the time. But then I could never find if I had a meeting with, you know, Tara and then I go back and try and find them like, what the heck I can’t? I don’t know. I don’t. So it served me no purpose.
John Bottom line is, I got this thing, this remarkable. It’s an electronic notebook and it says, simplified my life. I can keep everything organized. It’s the power of having a thousand different notebooks in the palm of my hand and it I can e-mail. I do text, I can write in it and then convert it to to print, to text. I could email pages from here. I can even stream it to a computer or TV, and you can see live me writing stuff down. All right. So that’s that’s my commercial for the remarkable two. Thank you. Remarkable to people, even though you’re not sponsoring me, that’s free advertising for you. So maybe you should think about it. So. Secondly, here’s the other thing so you’ve got to take notes because that helps the continuity. I go back all the time and I look and say, OK, Paul and I were talking about this. Tamara and I were talking about this when, you know, here’s what I need to know then. Now let’s continue that conversation.
John Or at least let me ask and follow back up on on what we did talk about last time. Um, so let’s start to talk about the one on one. It doesn’t necessarily need to be long. It doesn’t need to be an hour every time. It doesn’t even need to be half an hour, necessarily every time, as long as it’s productive. And I look at there’s a few things that I want to do. One is when I have a one on one, especially an important one, I want to. I want to use the three things that I’ve always talked about think, feel, do. What do I want this person thinking as a result of our one on one? What do I want them feeling and what I want and doing as a result of our conversation? OK, what’s the outcome that I’m looking for any change in behavior or actions or attitude or anything like that? That’s what I’m starting the meeting with. And I always somebody told, use this language, give me a long time ago, it’s stuck and that’s I want to leave them better than I found them. I love that right. I leave them better than I found them.
John And I don’t care what that is. Maybe I give them an idea. Maybe I give that help themselves problem. Maybe I change their mindset. Maybe I give them a pump up, whatever it is, but I’m leaving them better than I found them. And that’s a beautiful way to lead somebody, guy. Even sometimes I forget to deliver a tough message doesn’t mean I’m always, you know, going to be warm and fuzzy, and everything is to be great. Even a tough message that can mean I leave them better than I found them. I now I’m giving them feedback that they can do something with to become better in their role. The great thing about humans, we generally want to succeed. We want to do better. You are your employees want to succeed in their roles. That’s the great thing. We can operate on that assumption that everybody wants to be successful. There’s very few people that set out to fail. There’s very few people that set out to underperform. So we’re in alignment together now. It’s just you as the leader helping to pave the way, remove the obstacles, give them the tools, the advice, the guidance that they need to really master their roles and become as impactful as possible.
John If that happens, they win and you win and the company wins, the organization wins, the shareholder wins the customers when everybody does, right? That’s the beauty of this thing. So that said, I really look at I basically I’m looking at there’s three main things that I’m I’m thinking about in a one on one in these meetings, I want to do one of, if not all of these three things. One is I want to I want to remove the mental roadblocks or issues that they have. I want to help them clear their path mentally. And to do that, I need to listen. I’m going to just basically, Hey, what’s on your mind? How are things going? Sometimes the one on one. Most of it will be that talking about what’s on their mind, maybe they’re dealing with some and maybe there’s some stress that they’re having or they’re unclear about something. Or maybe there’s something going on outside of the office outside of work gave that some time, and that’s why. Art with that and some, it’s an easy question. What’s on your mind? You know, how are you feeling? Are you having fun? That’s a great question. Are you having fun enjoying this? But but really ask questions with the intent to get the right answer the truthful answer, not just the answer that you want or that they think you want, but dig.
John If you sense in their body language that they’re not being straight up with you, call them out on it. Hey, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m getting the sense that that’s not actually the truth. So level with me here. What’s going on? How you really feel and how you really enjoy this? How do you feel when you wake up on Monday morning? Honestly, I want to know. Tell me the truth. You’d be surprised at what people open up, sometimes not the first time, but if you ask them that second time, you’d be surprised. But I want to do that. Number one is remove the mental roadblock. So if there’s something that’s occupying their mind that’s slowing them down, maybe it’s they need clarity on something. Maybe they need to vent about something. Maybe they need to. They’re demotivated, they needs a little lift. Maybe they’re just fixated on something that they shouldn’t be. They’re worried about the wrong things. Whatever the case is, their focus is off, whatever the case is. I want to try and clear their mind in their mental capacity and create more mental capacity. Secondly, as I’m looking to help them find a solution of problem, they may be having, so most of the time people are dealing with things that they’re trying to battle through on their own.
John So if there is this a problem that they’re dealing with, sometimes I can offer a solution or help them think through something a little bit differently. So oftentimes I’ll ask, you know, Hey, Jason, tell me, tell me what’s going on with this situation here? What are you dealing with? What are the obstacles? What are the problems we’re facing? And let him talk. Let him talk and share. What are the issues? Hey, here’s where I’m stuck on this thing. Now, my temptation might be if I know the answer I have, an answer might be right away to give it to him. But try to hold back on that. Try to get him or her to come up with the ideas and say, Well, have you thought about this? What’s more important is it is it speed or is it quality? What’s this person’s that you’re dealing with and trying to make something happen? What’s their biggest obstacle or what’s most important to them? What are all the different options? How can we solve this? What are the other things that might be risky that we haven’t thought about?
John And what are those risks? So I’m trying to talk them through to come up with their own idea, and then I might offer my ideas. Hey, have you thought about doing this? Or what if you took a different angle at the and try that, whatever the case may be? If I can help them leave this interaction with a solution that they didn’t have before, then I’ve provided value, right? And that’s what I’m trying to do. And then lastly, is really the leadership part the guidance, the direction, the feedback. I never want somebody on my team to not know accurately how they’re doing. I don’t want somebody to feel like they’re doing better than they are. I don’t want somebody feeling they’re doing worse than they are. I also want them to understand that regardless, it’s nothing is permanent. It’s not where, you know, usually it’s I had somebody tell me, Don’t believe the press. You’re never as good as you think you are. You’re never as bad as you think. People tell you, are you never as good as people here are. You’re never as bad as people tell you.
John I don’t believe the press. Don’t read the press. Just think about what do I need to do to get better? Just one percent better. That’s it. What? And just stay focused on those tiny incremental differences and growth opportunities. Just that’s it. Just say Thai Vogue for Thai focused on those tiny little differences. What can I do to get one percent better over the next week? Did I get one percent or better over the last week, over the last month? If you did and if you are great, you’re making awesome progress. So I want to give them guidance and direction, but I want to make it very actionable. I want these meetings to be actionable where they can come out and say, OK, here’s my to do. Sometimes that might be a goal that they have, that they’re going to set and communicate with me sometime. It’s OK, here’s what I’m going to do as a result of this. A great question to wrap up the one on one with is, OK, would you get from today?
John Simple question. I’ve been working with Peter Vilardi for a long time. He always does that with me. Hey, would you get out today? What’s your next steps? And I’ve got a recap. Okay, but remember me if as a leader, sometimes we leave and I’ve had meetings like this, believe me and this is on me. I left a meeting. This was this was when I was running Concord Wealth Management and my ops leader. And she would tell me sometimes I’d get out of a meeting and I would tell her how a certain meeting went with one of my advisors and they would end up talking to her. And she’d say, you know what, you think it went a certain way, then I’ll think I want a certain way. You know, they thought it didn’t go well, you thought it went well or they totally got a different message from you. They didn’t understand clearly what you were asking or telling them to do. Now that was valuable. But what it made me realize is I’m going to do a better job of communicating. And one of the things I can do at the end is simple question is to say, OK, um, you know, uh, Carl, tell me, what is your understanding? What do we what did you get out of today? Tell me what you’re kind of next step is.
John And I just wanna make sure we’re on the same page. And just listen and make sure. So that way you’re crystal clear, because I will tell you, there’s so many people and I was one of those. I think I’m much better now than I was. But where you think you’re saying certain things and you’re not, it’s coming out right and clear in your mind, but it’s not going from your brain, out your lips and into the other person’s ears. This does not happen in the way you think it is. And oftentimes and you’ve seen it, sometimes your brain, just your brain, your mouth operated different pieces. Plus you throw in other things like you’re watching them reading their body language or your mind’s all over the place. So you think about how difficult it is to communicate as well as you want to. Your intentions are there, but sometimes we just miss stuff. We miss the whole point that we want to make.
John We garble words. We say things in a confusing way. We skip words sometimes and and the other person is left to try and decipher a little bit. And sometimes that’s not coming out. That’s that they’re not deciphering the message that we’re trying to deliver. And so that simple question to the end, Hey, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. What is your understanding of what we talked about today? Great question. What is your understanding of next steps? What is your understanding of what decision needs to be made? What’s your understanding of who needs to be involved in this, whatever? That’s a great, great question. Sign off. Terrific. Great. Okay. Now I know we’re on the same page. Okay, that’s what great leaders do. So again, the power of the one on one is immense. It is immense. And if you’re not doing them, I encourage you to take twenty twenty two and say, you know what I mean, actually, do these because it’s a great opportunity for me to lead. It’s a great leadership opportunity. And more importantly, your people will feel valued because you’re developing them, you’re listening to them, you’re taking time with them. People want to know that they’re important.
John And it’s not just about money, it’s about my leader spending time with me and listening to me and actually valuing my input and sometimes asking my opinion on stuff. That is how you keep your top people. I want to see you twenty twenty twenty to keep your top people, your eight players. I want them to stay with you and I want you to attract more of them. And this is how you do it. Don’t make the mistake that other leaders make in the end up losing top people because of things like this so easy, easy stuff. All right, thanks for tuning in today. I hope this was valuable, as always. Greatly appreciate your ideas and suggestions for future topics and great guests, if you know any you can send them on my website. John Loretto dot com. You’ll see a podcast page up there. Go to that all the podcasts, by the way. I’ve got it. My team puts these all together. They’re all transcribed literally. Like all of them. Almost all of them are going to go back to some of the early ones, but they’re transcribed word for word.
John You can go back and read them. You listen to them again, whatever you want to do, share them. But you can also apply to be a guest on the show as well. So there’s a button right up at top that says Apply to be a guest. So if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on my show, feel free to do that. In addition, as you’ve heard, I am out now doing keynotes for organizations and companies all over the place, and I certainly would love to be on your agenda at your next special event. If you have an interest in talking, certainly email me or go to my website. You’ll see a keynote page on there, Johnlaurito.com. And it has all the information on the keynotes and everything you’d want to know. So look forward to chat with you about that. In the meantime, stay healthy, happy and let’s get twenty twenty two off to the right start. Thanks, everybody, bye!
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks, lead on!