Why Frequent One-on-One Sessions Hinder Progress

It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of running a business. You may have heard that you should make time for one-on-one meetings with your employees. While this is a great idea in theory, it’s not always the best strategy to implement if you want them to be productive.

The one-on-one meeting is a staple for any business owner, but it can be a double-edged sword if not managed correctly. The biggest problem with this type of meeting is that they often happen too frequently and become more of an inconvenience than anything else. If you want to make sure these sessions are as effective as possible, follow the tips below. 

Keep reading for some insight into how frequent one-on-one sessions can hinder productivity at work.

The time you spend in a one-on-one session is often spent talking about the past

The one-on-one session is usually a meeting where one employee gets undivided attention from their boss. This can be great for morale, as they may feel motivated to work harder after receiving this type of individualized praise.

One of the biggest reasons one-on-one sessions are ineffective is that they are too focused on the past instead of looking towards the future. This becomes a huge problem when you’re spending your time discussing issues that have already been resolved. The only thing one-on-one sessions should be used for is to discuss new problems or challenges facing one or both of you.

For one-on-one sessions to be effective, it’s important to let the employee know that there is a reason why you’re meeting with them and what that specific issue is.

Even if one-on-one sessions aren’t being used to their full potential, it’s a good idea to have one scheduled at least once a month. This is especially important for one-on-ones with your employees.

One-on-ones are used to vent and complain, rather than problem solve

Even one-on-one sessions that are scheduled to discuss one specific problem can oftentimes turn into a venting session. If you’re one of these types of business owners, it’s a good idea to think about why this is happening. The reason one-on-ones turn into complaints so easily is that they happen too frequently and employees often feel like one-on-one sessions are one long rant.

Employees often see one-on-one sessions as an opportunity to complain about the people they work with or how their role isn’t being taken seriously. This can cause one-on-ones to get out of control quickly, which is one of the biggest reasons why one-on-ones should only be used for problem-solving.

Having one-on-ones with your employees is one of the best ways you can show that you respect them. It’s important to remember, however, that one-on-one sessions are not a time for venting or complaining. The one chance each month for direct access to the person in charge should be used to discuss work issues and seek advice, not for one-on-one meetings to become gripe sessions.

One-on-ones can be an emotional drain on both parties

If one-on-one sessions are taking place too frequently and one person is constantly bringing up negative thoughts and emotions, it can be an exhausting experience for both parties. It’s important to remember that one-on-ones shouldn’t always be about trying to solve problems; sometimes they should simply be used as a chance for two people to bond. If one-on-ones are becoming increasingly one-sided, it might be time to make some changes to the way you run them.

One-on-ones should feel more like one-on-conversations. If one of your employees is bringing up negative emotions during one-on-ones, it might be time to switch things up and talk about something else. One-on-ones are meant to help improve communication between you and your employees in a relaxed setting,

One-on-ones should be one of the least emotionally charged meetings you can have with one of your employees. It’s critical to pay attention if one-on-ones become emotional since it’s possible for one person to bear the brunt of the feelings. One-on-ones held too frequently don’t allow time to practice what is learned

One-on-ones can affect creativity and innovation

It’s been said that one-on-ones can increase innovation and creativity within a company, but this only happens if one-on-ones are used correctly. If one-on-ones aren’t being held frequently enough or one person isn’t getting their questions answered, they simply restart conversations instead of building on one another. One-on-ones that don’t build on one another hinder creativity and innovation because one person’s ideas aren’t able to influence the other person and vice versa.

Once one-on-ones become routine, many employees feel like one-on-one sessions are one long meeting. One-on-ones should be used to build connections between you and your employees, but if every one of them feels the same it can make things boring for both parties.

It’s one of the most important sessions you’ll have with your employees and one that can make or break them. If one-on-ones aren’t working for one person, it could be because they’re held too frequently or one person isn’t getting their questions answered.


One-on-ones are a great way to get the work done and touch base on any outstanding items. But, if you’re going too often without giving yourself or your team time for practice, it could have unintended consequences. Make sure that you take care of yourselves by setting boundaries around when one-on-one’s should happen and how long they will last. How frequently do you plan to schedule them now? Let us know in the comments below!

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