Going 1-on-1

Leadership Development


There are a lot of concepts and skills that can be communicated in group settings. Seminars and conferences are great forums for idea and information exchange. But, if you want transformation and not just information when it comes to leadership development, then you may want to consider going “1-on-1.”

I am incredibly blessed with a small cadre of leaders that I go 1-on-1 with on a regular basis. The frequency is not as often with some of them as I would like. However, the key is that I am talking or meeting with them in a focused 1-on-1 setting. It may be over the phone, but it is 1-on-1 and there are no other voices distracting us from our reason for being together.

Why 1-on-1?

The main reason for going 1-on-1 is that it forms an intimate and a private conversation between the two participants. It is in those moments that real dialog can occur. You can offer and receive significant feedback that would just not be appropriate in a group setting. And you can forge a relationship that will be sustained and strengthened by committing that time together.

What would we talk about?

Stories – One of the things that one of my mentors reminds me of when we discuss the book that I am currently writing is the power of stories. He reminds me to “never miss an opportunity to tell a story.” I find that true in my writing and I find it true in 1-on-1s with a young leader.  Ask them to tell you a story about their leadership journey. How did it start? What has been their greatest challenge or success so far? And then share with them a story along the same vein.

Self-Awareness – These encounters will offer the opportunity to “hold a mirror in front of them” so that they can get a perspective that may help them develop their self-awareness. Self-awareness is vital to becoming an emotionally intelligent leader.

Stop / Start / Keep – One of the exercises that are common in the workplace that applies to leadership development is the Stop / Start / Keep Exercise. If you are unfamiliar with it, it is basically an opportunity to examine the activities that we participate in and determine the value or success that they produce. Based upon that, do we need to Stop doing some things that are time or resource consuming yet provide no return on that investment? Are there some things that we should Start to do and test them to see if they will provide value to us and to our organization? And are there some things that we need to Keep because they are working, are bringing value, and are providing a good return on our mental, physical, or emotional investment?

How do I get started?

Just ask! Many times opportunities are wasted for fear of asking a simple question – “Can I have a little of your time? I would love to talk to you about leadership.” Note that the question works for both parties. The young or new leader can ask that question verbatim to an experienced leader and it would work. That question could be asked to a new leader by an experienced leader and it would be appropriate as well. The point is to not be afraid to ask the question and begin the conversation.

Who will you ask that question today?

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.