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The most important hour in every manager’s day

The most important hour in every manager’s day

by Moyra Mackie on July 26, 2014

Do you manage a team but feel you never have time for everything you have to do?

Are you concerned that your team doesn’t really seem to be a cohesive, aligned team?

Do you have someone in your team who just doesn’t seem to “get it”?

Did you know that there’s a  really simple solution to address these and most other managerial challenges?

Have regular one to ones with every one of your team

Yes really, it’s that simple. If you’re a manager you should be spending an hour a week with all your direct reports.

Surely one to ones can’t solve all my managerial headaches?

If done properly – and we’ll come to that later – your one to ones are precious moments to:

If all of those things are being nurtured on a weekly basis, most of your managerial headaches will subside.  And those that don’t, can usually be helped by making sure YOU have regular one to ones with YOUR boss.

But an hour a week! Does it really have to be that often?


If  they’re a well-established team that you have been managing for some time and you and they feel comfortable with the quality, creativity  and timeliness of your work delivery, then you could move to once every other week.

Your one to ones are a sign that you take your management title and your leadership responsibilities seriously.

But it’s OK to skip one to ones from time to time?

Only if you’re on holiday or if the building is on fire.  And I mean really on fire.

Rushing to some other meeting to heroically solve some other problem, fight some other metaphorical fire, or using the time to catch up on some of your overdue tasks are not good reasons to skip your one to ones.

One to ones are a sign you respect your team, yourself and your management title

If you skip them once, you’ll quickly get into the habit of it.  And you send a message that your time is not important and that your direct reports don’t matter.

Well if I work alongside my team, then we don’t need to set aside special time, do we?

That’s an excuse.  It really is. One to ones are personal, confidential, focused developmental time.  Being available to your team members on a daily basis is important, but it’s not the same.

One to ones are your chance to be a coaching manager

According to a recent Harvard Business Review survey, most managers see themselves as coaches, so having a coaching mind set is the first step in having a successful one to one.

A coaching manager would avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Arriving late for the meeting or permitting interruptions from outside
  • Telling staff what to do
  • Doing most of the talking
  • Allowing the conversation to lose focus and end up in casual gossip
  • Getting lost in the details of delivery
  • Avoiding talking about “difficult issues”
  • Focusing on facts ahead of feelings
  • Believing you have most –  or all – of the answers
  • Becoming impatient when suggestions or advice are rejected

I believe most managers miss out on the full power and potential of their one to ones, so here is how to get the most out of your time with your team:

If you want my suggestions for examples of “Great Questions”, click the link at the end of the video and I will send you a list I know will help you get the most out of your team.

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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