Holding one-on-one meetings with your employees is part of your responsibility as a leader. These meetings are an important time to connect with your team members, so you want to be sure that you’re making them as effective as possible. Use these four tips to up your emotional intelligence in meetings and build greater bonds with your team.


Always set an agenda

A leader with high emotional intelligence is able to control and regulate their emotions, but not everyone possesses the same skill. Often, walking into a meeting without knowing what is coming can lead to fear and anxiety. Providing the other party with an agenda before the meeting starts will allow them to prepare and quell their anxieties as they know better what to expect. If it’s going to be a short meeting, you can just write down a few points of discussion on a sticky note and give it to the other party beforehand.


Keep progress and performance meetings

Typically, one-on-one meetings either revolve around checking in on general work or specific progress, or as a performance review. Don’t combine these two types of meetings. If you need to speak to an employee about something performance related, find a time to speak with them outside of your progress meetings. If you regularly bring up performance in a progress meeting, the employee will become guarded and feel uneasy about attending meetings with you.


Start with positivity

Some people are big fans of the compliment sandwich approach, where you provide a compliment, then a critique, and follow it up with a final compliment. Others feel this approach conditions your employees to always expect a negative follow-up to a compliment. Regardless of if you take that approach or not, you should still start every one-on-one meeting with some form of positivity or compliment. You can start with something as small as praising someone for how they handled a recent tense situation. This approach helps you to form a better relationship with your employees and will allow you to build rapport with them.


Tailor your message better

Not everyone communicates in the same way. The way one person prefers to receive feedback may be drastically different than the preferences of someone else on your team. If you’re not sure how the person your meeting with wants feedback communicated to them, just ask. Ask about their background and experience. Ask them what management style they prefer. How do they prefer being communicated with? All of these may seem like little things, but make a huge difference in the happiness of your employees. When they’re being communicated to the way that they prefer, your message will be more effective, and your employees will feel as though you value and listen to them.