One-On-One Session (or O3 in short) is a really powerful tool used by many managers all over the world. It is a well-structured meeting in which a manager/team leader spends some time (usually 30 minutes) with each of his/her team member to discuss progress, strengths, weaknesses, goals and other employee-related matters.
O3 sessions are a great way of keeping your people motivated and helping them grow. Finding and overcoming the obstacles they have and the challenges they are facing makes them better at their work and more independent in the long run.
This is especially important in the IT world when it is quite common that many people who are working for a long time on a specific project start to be demotivated and stop learning new things.
You can find many great articles on the internet that focus on the structure of the O3 meeting but I found them quite overwhelming and hard to follow, especially at the beginning. But there are some good pieces of advice that are easy to do and are reasonable to follow from the start:
- schedule a meeting with at least one week notice and prepare separately for each person (set the agenda you want to follow)
- if possible, never postpone or cancel the one-on-one session (because the team member may feel that he/she is not as important as he/she really is)
- offer the same amount of time for each person (for example 30 min)
- let them speak! It is awesome when the invited person speaks for around 80% of the meeting time
- if an employee has a lot of development needs then try to focus only on one of them
- remember to be more like a coach, not a manager or a leader. Let the person find the solutions to his/her problem on their own
- ask for feedback from your team member “how can I help you to be more successful”
- follow up and support your people in pursuing goals
The last point is extremely important. It shows that you actually care about your team members and that you want them to succeed.
I strongly believe that the usage of regular feedback sessions plays a crucial role in sustaining the motivation of your team members. I think that this is one of the tools that can make a difference and elevate a good team into the outstanding one.