February 15, 2018

By: Ron Guest, Senior Partner, TwoGreySuits

Hello everyone!

In my last BLOG I predicted that in 2018 managers will be talking to their employees more. Why? Because today’s managers are slowly getting more aware that meaningful conversations and dialogue are the key to really getting to know your employees and more importantly to achieving results.

Extensive worldwide research shows that the quality of the direct relationship between manager and direct report is also the #1 key driver of Employee Engagement….and higher employee engagement is proven  by extensive research  beyond any reasonable doubt to be directly linked to increased profitability.

I hear a lot of pushback when I suggest weekly or at minimum bi-weekly 30 minute 1:1’s to companies. The common pushback is ‘what are we going to talk about that frequently that we can’t talk about on any given day’? OK, fair question. (answered in more detail in next BLOG)

In fact the 3 most common types of pushback are:

1. ‘it’s micro-managing’

2. ‘I don’t have time’ or

3.  ‘we talk all the time’

Ok, let’s do the math here, assuming a 40 hour work week. You’re asking for 30 minutes every 80 hours, or 780 minutes a year, out of 122,400 minutes in a 40 hour work week year.  That’s less than 1% of their time.

For a manager or a direct to say this is intrusive is actually laughable in my view, and certainly not true. Is this what some would call micro-management?  Really?

Let’s set the record straight – micro management is the systematic and routine application of an intrusive relationship in that the manager assigns tasks, explains what to do, how to do it, insists on total process compliance, then observes the work in real time, correcting the work as it is being done and in the event of even the slightest deviance from expectations, takes over the work themselves – that is what micro-management is!

Frequent 1:1’s are nowhere near related to micro-management. In fact they are probably in many ways opposite to micro-management.

Being a demanding boss is not micro-management either, expecting updates is not micro-managing, asking for reports is not micro-managing, asking for a 30 minute meeting once a week or once every two weeks is not micro-managing either. Spending time communicating about deliverables, tasks, deadlines, successes, failures, growth opportunities, even some personal info exchange is not micro-managing in any way. I also hear managers saying they ‘drop by every day’ to casually chat about work issues.  Ok, 1:1’s can replace these unplanned and often unwanted drop ins by the boss. It is often seen as disrespectful of employees’ time to do this, it can be seen as intrusive, does not allow for any preparation and the employee really has no choice in the matter because of the boss/manager traditional relationship in most cases. If employees did not have their survival addiction to food, clothing and shelter, these ‘intrusions’ would be less accommodated by employees.

Being more purposeful and planned in 1:1 communications is better in so many ways, (literally no downside for manager and direct report) and can even replace these unplanned drop ins. If managers are saying they don’t have time for these 1:1’s (consuming less than 1% of their time, actually .06 of 1%) in a year, then what message is that sending to your direct reports? I don’t have less than 1% of my time for you but you are important. – really???  Not that believable. Next BLOG I will explain exactly what to talk about in these frequent 1:1’s and also will reveal some fail points of doing frequent 1:1’s in a process sense.

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TwoGreySuits is a leading edge provider of on-line human resource management information, processes, tools and forms servicing the North American market. They have linked the HR practices associated with the key drivers of Employee Engagement in the form of an on-line training application for managers utilizing the vast amount of well-organized information on the website. They license their product to individual companies and Associations, Franchisors and Value-Added Resellers (VARS). Contact them at

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