BLUF:  Is it a red flag when a direct asks to extend the frequency of your one-on-one meetings?

I'm a new manager to several technician level folks.  I've had 3 one-on-ones with each direct so far (monthly frequency).  Yesterday, one of my directs gave me feedback during our one-on-one that he is not used to meeting so frequently with his supervisor and asked if we could extend to quarterly instead of monthly.  Is this a red flag that my direct is not seeing value in our one-on-ones?


hyubdoo23's picture

IMO monthly doesn't cut it in terms of relationship-building, nor in terms of keeping a direct on track. If they haven't had O3s before, they might see it as overly intrusive, but I would honestly ramp it up to bi-weekly or even weekly if you can swing it. Did you send out the email informing them of the point of the O3s?

GlennR's picture

I'm up voting HYUBD0023's comment above. Tell your direct to give it an honest chance and challenge him to expand his comfort zone. Also, you'll get better as you do more of these.

jrb3's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Red flag, yes.  Most likely not about the direct, but about your use of the one-on-one.  These are meant to be frequent, relationship-building, and complementing the casual contacts happening throughout the week.

Recheck that you're truly starting off the one-on-one with your direct leading where things are going.  You might end up having to restart how you think about one-on-ones to correct the "tone" of these meetings.

-- Joseph

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Monthly meetings with your directs ARE NOT one on ones in the Manager Tools lexicon, because the purpose of MTO3s is to build relationships, and you can't build relationships in a monthly meeting.

Tell the direct no, monthly is it for now, and you intend to go more frequently.  No self-respecting intelligent more senior person will support a direct saying a monthly meeting is too much. That's ludicrous ;-).


stenya's picture
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When I was first promoted, one of my analysts was really resistant to the the idea of O3s. At the end of our first meeting, he said, "You know, this seems like overkill. I think it would be better if we met every few weeks or every month instead." I just smiled and said thanks for the suggestion, we'll stick with weekly for now... and after a few weeks, HE was taking 20 minutes of every O3 each week. :-)

I joked with him about it months later, and he admitted that he just didn't realize how much he'd appreciate having my attention more often. Hope you'll get to that place with your folks, too.

ashdenver's picture

When I took over the last group of people I had (two jobs ago), I laid the foundation for everyone and introduced the O3's, their purpose and frequency. I met with each of the 8 DR's weekly and things were going quite well. At one point, one of the DR's (one of the one's who worked remotely over a thousand miles away whom I had not yet met in person) said "Are we going to meet quarterly from now on?"

"Why do you believe that we are shifting from meeting weekly to meeting quarterly?"

"Well, I thought these weekly meetings were to get to know each other and it's been three months now so I thought we'd go monthly or quarterly now."

"I'll tell you what - let's leave the weekly meeting appointment on our calendars and I'll just check-in with you (instant messaging system) at that time and if you have something for me, we can meet. Sound good?"


The very next week, as promised, I checked-in with her and she had nothing she wanted to share so we didn't meet (on the phone.) The week after that - and every week thereafter - we DID meet because she always had something for me. It was one of the most amazing things I've encountered as a manager. The repetition and consistency of providing that safe space to communicate had become something on which she relied without realizing how much she liked and needed it.


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