Bart Widlarz's Blog

1on1s part 3, Advice

March 13, 2019

A piece of advice

For leaders

Introducing one on one meetings is an evolutionary process rather than a revolution. It takes some time to make people comfortable and gain their involvement. When you first invite somebody to a meeting, the message should be clear — it’s for us to talk. And the first meeting should be exactly like that.

You may say that it’s easier said than done. Well, while it’s definitely easier to introduce the meetings when you have just joined a new team and everything around you is fresh, it might be terribly hard for those who have already built a relationship with people, and now want to introduce a mysterious new thing. It’s up to them whether the benefits outweigh the losses, yet this post strongly encourages to place a great deal of importance on face-to-face relationships.

For those who were invited

Calm down. If you get an invitation your career is probably on the verge of getting better, short of having been conspicuously sloppy, aggressive or obnoxious in any way.


To summarize, even though it takes some doing it’s worth devoting your time to introduce the convention of running one on one meetings regularly. Some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Leaders are responsible for running them, not HR people.
  2. It’s not a place to discuss an issue which should be addressed through public channels.
  3. There are at least three main reasons why you should run the meetings. The first one is that you can receive valuable feedback from people. Secondly, it’s a way for leaders to provide mentorship. Finally, it’s a convenient way to identify your employees’ problems.

Even though I mainly draw on my own experience, my knowledge is also based on resources that I strongly recommend:

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman

The Manager’s Path by Camille Fournier

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Doktryna Jakości: Rzecz o skutecznym zarządzaniu by Andrzej Blikle

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Bart Widlarz

Written by Bart Widlarz who works remotely in software development as a developer and leader. CONTACT ME