Hello all, the one on one podcast is great, I wish I had the opportunity to have been a part of them before. So, how can weekly one on ones be effective in a company where the vast majority of the employees are there for a "job" and not a "career". My line of work is a distribution warehouse. The chance to move up is very slim, and the employees are doing manual labor. Virtually everyone is doing the same job, regardless of talent or education. In this environment can they really be effective?


One-on-ones are about building relationships

If the only thing that motivated anyone to do well at their job was "moving up", nobody would ever do good work at small firms (because the chances of "moving up" in a very small business is next to nil).  Most people are motivated by the simple desire to be productive and useful.  It is the feeling of being "wasted" that causes people to be unhappy and ineffective in their jobs.

To make people feel as though they're doing a valuable, useful job, and doing it well, they need to be told they're doing good things by someone they trust and respect.  The best way to build trust and respect with a direct is by building a relationship with them.  An excellent way to build a relationship with a direct is to regularly have a conversation in which the topics of discussion are those of interest to the direct.  A fantastic method of having that conversation is by having regular, scheduled one-on-ones.

Well said!

Mike has GOT to add an "Upvote" button on this forum.

I up vote both of the above!

I'd actually argue that O3s become even more important when there's the danger that people can be treated like cogs in the machine. We are all individuals with our own desires, fears, passions, skills, and experience.  You need relationships to bring out the best of these things in people so that your organisation will be most effective.

I'm reminded if something I heard Tom Peters say years ago - these people you work with all have interests outside of work.  They are PTA members, run groups at their church, are office holders in various volunteer organisations, etc. In other words, they are motivated, dedicated and talented individuals except for the 8 hours they punch the clock and work for you.  Doesn't that prove that the problem is management at work?


One more "up" vote!

Absolutely!  Lencioni suggests that The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (2007) are Anonymity (the boss doesn't know or care who I am or what I'm doing), Immeasurement (I don't know whether I'm doing well or not, and no one will tell me), and Irrelevance (I don't know how my job connects to the company's strategy or to anything else that I consider important or meaningful).  Pink, by contrast, argues in  Drive (2009) that employees are motivated by Autonomy (knowing what I'm supposed to do and having the liberty to decide how I do it, within the established parameters), Mastery (knowing that I'm doing my work well and getting better at it), and Purpose (the opposite of Irrelevance; a connection to the surrounding community, world, spiritual values, etc.).

One-on-Ones, Feedback, Coaching, and Delegation in my experience are THE best ways to overcome Lencioni's demotivators and build Pink's motivators into your team culture.  Even if the work is routine and there's little expectation that that will change, One-on-Ones give employees an opportunity to see that the boss does know and care who they are.  They can use their 10-15 minutes to talk about anything--their dreams, their aspirations for their kids, the ball game, the coffee in the break room, their vacation plans, their medical concerns--whatever.  Just having someone there to listen is worth the time invested.  If they feel good talking about things in a work environment, then they'll be less likely to fall into that "pit of despair," and maybe the positive feelings will even leak over into their behavior and collegial relationships on the line.

The boss can use their 10-15 minutes to talk about even the most minute, incremental signs of improvement or concern in the employee's performance (Hey!  Someone noticed!).  Maybe there won't be much talk of "career development"--but who knows?  If you know your employees really well as a result of O3s, you'll eventually figure out who the "rising stars" are, and then you'll be ready for that "big opportunity" question when your own boss asks who's worth looking at for greater responsibility.

If nothing else, you'll find out what makes your employees keep coming back.  Maybe you'll build a stronger sense of common purpose and interest between you and your team members, and make your workplace just a little bit less routine and more enjoyable.  You might even find someone who likes to read the same things that you do.  Maybe it's just time to get a new coffee maker for the break room, to show that you give a rat.  Any of those would be a good thing.

One on one time has helped

One on one time has helped me get to know my directs even better - I now know with more certainty who is content to do the 9 to 5 and who has higher aspirations. Whatever, it gives me enough understanding to help them develop all types of life skills not just the technical ones.  Use O3s to build a stronger relationship then the rest will fall into place.