One-on-One Manager Tools: How to Stay Organized and Have Better Relationships

With these 3 essential tools to manage your one-on-ones, you'll be well on your way to building an exceptional team.

The Meetingnotes Team
April 15, 2024

For managers to successfully run one-on-one meetings, they need a handful of one-on-one manager tools to stay organized. With the right tools, these meetings will allow managers to boost their team’s productivity, improve team rapport and relationships, and help the team actively get more out of their job.

Within this article, we’ll be touching upon how to run one-on-ones, as well as detailing the most essential one-on-one manager tools. We’ll be discussing:

  1. Benefits of one-on-one meetings
  2. How to make one-on-ones more effective
  3. The 3 critical manager tools for one-on-ones

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Exactly what are the benefits of one-on-one meetings?

One-on-one meetings can be a powerful tool, both for managers and for the employee they’re held with. These meetings can be essential in motivating your team, building rapport, and diffusing any issues before they come to a head.

There is a range of benefits of holding frequent one-on-one meetings. Let’s take a look at the three most significant benefits:

  • Stronger relationships
  • Find problems before they happen
  • Performance assessment and motivational feedback

Let’s break these down further.

Stronger Relations

Not only does a one-on-one meeting give you a designated time slot in which you can get to know members of your team a little better, but it also provides your team an opportunity to voice any concerns they have. Unlike team meetings, this is an opportunity to hear how individual employees feel.

If there are any interpersonal problems within the team, these meetings provide a neutral platform where you can discuss and get information from individuals. Based on this information, you’ll then be able to look for ways to mitigate or completely alleviate the personal problems that you’ve encountered.

If everything is running well within your team, these meetings will also allow you to build rapport with your staff, break down the manager/employee barrier and power dynamic and ensure your department works as a cohesive whole.

Encounter Problems Early

Instead of dealing with the consequences of a problem, you’ll be able to use these regularly scheduled meetings to find issues right as they’re starting out. Likewise, if these meetings happen often enough, you’ll be able to get feedback on issues right as they’re beginning to form.

Due to this, you’ll be able to find the following steps to solve any problems that may arise before they are blown out of proportion by time.

As these meetings are private, the one-on-one format will help your team open up about their problems. With a more comfortable team comes better working conditions within the office.

Performance Assessment

With regular meetings, you’ll be able to get updates on how each member of your team is currently performing. From giving feedback to your employees to receiving updates about how a team member is spending their time in the office, you’ll be able to stay on top of managing your team.

These personal meetings will also allow you to get a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular team member. As a manager, you’ll have the opportunity to directly ask about areas in which an employee enjoys their work and where they struggle a little more. From this, you’ll be able to put the right people on the right tasks.

Discussing with team members one-on-one also allows you to give positive feedback. You’ll be able to highlight what they’re doing well, giving them that extra motivational push to continue excelling in the workplace. A Gallup study found that across 530 teams, those that received positive feedback were on average 12.5% more productive than teams that did not receive this feedback.

Being positive about your team’s achievements can make a difference!

With better productivity, morale boosts, and more accurate insight into individual performance, one-on-one meetings are a phenomenal way of increasing your team’s effectiveness. 

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How can you make your one-on-ones more effective/productive?

Alongside using the correct one-on-one manager tools, there is a range of ways that you can make your meetings even more productive. You should try and incorporate the following into your meetings:

  • Regularity for all team members
  • Short and sweet
  • Privacy
  • Send questions ahead of time
  • Focus on taking notes, then act upon them

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.


Meetings are necessary to keep things running smoothly. Yet, in many companies, the only one-on-one meeting is the annual review, leaving team members in the dark for the majority of the year.

You want your meetings to feel as casual as possible, allowing team members to feel comfortable enough to open up about their experiences. When the conversation is flowing, one-on-ones will become a fantastic place to relay information, allowing you to keep your team’s progress running smoothly.

You should aim to have meetings with every team member regularly. Depending on the size of your team, this cadence might be one a week, once every two weeks, or once every month. Whatever regularity you go for, just make sure that it’s put into the calendar and stuck to!

Short and Sweet

Although necessary, a meeting can often feel a little distracting if it happens in the middle of the day. To keep things running smoothly, you should keep your meetings to under 30 minutes. This will give you enough time to get through everything without dragging on the conversation for too long. Your employees will thank you if they know they can expect a short and sweet meeting.


One of the crucial factors of a one-on-one meeting is that it is a private space. For many managers, this used to mean going to a specific location, such as their office, to hold the meeting. In the modern age, with powerful video conference tools, you can now quickly and easily create a private call.

These calls allow even remote employees to call in and engage with you in your one-on-one. If you’re principally working with remote teams, then you’ll fast become familiar with the full range of digital tools available.



If you know the general agenda you’ll be following for the meeting, you should have a few questions lined up, ready to go. To put your employees at ease, you should send these questions over to them ahead of time. 

This will allow your employees time in their day to take a few minutes to think about what they’re going to respond. Not only does this allow them to structure their thinking ahead of time, but it also makes sure they’re never taken off-guard by the conversation.

The first step to a great meeting is making sure your questions are also of high quality. Try to get to the bottom of how your employees feel, if they are enjoying their time in the company, if they’re on schedule with their projects, if they feel stressed or busy, or just have conversations about their team dynamics. 

Are there any challenges they’re facing? Do they need to share feedback? 

Make sure to give your employees space to express themselves and how they're managing their job in your one-on-one conversations.

Take Notes During Your One-on-Ones

Managers that treat one-on-ones solely as performance reviews often do a lot of talking and very little listening. This is the opposite of how you should structure your meetings. Instead, you should allow your employee to talk; listen to their answers, and show that you’re interested in what they have to say. 

Taking notes is a vital part of this process, ensuring that your employees feel heard while also allowing you to collect information for later use. In addition, by noting down ideas, you’ll create a valuable resource to which you can refer.

Your goal from these meetings should be to discuss how you can help the employee thrive. Due to this, taking notes and then drawing up action items for you to implement going forward is the foundation of a successful one-on-one talk. 

Listen, focus on what your employee is saying, and be sure to hear their problems. After all, as a manager, you're there to help!

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What are 3 one-on-one manager tools to use?

The best manager tools will allow your one-on-one meetings to fly by, giving you everything you need to collect feedback, hear employee concerns and challenges, and host a successful meeting.

There are three top tools that will allow you to facilitate effective one-on-one meetings:

  1. A calendar tool
  2. An agenda tool
  3. A note-taking tool

1. A Calendar

Your one-on-one meetings should be a commitment you make regularly. Due to this, a calendar will allow you to schedule these conversations into your working week. 

A shared company calendar like those provided by Google Calendar works great for this, helping to remind employees about their upcoming meetings in a given week.

2. Agenda Tool

The old mantra goes: fail to plan, plan to fail. The same goes for one-on-one meetings, with an agenda allowing you to plan out key focus points for your conversations ahead of time. Not only does an agenda allow you to create and share questions with an employee, but you’ll also then have clear headings with which you can make notes. offers a range of agenda templates for one-on-ones that show you exactly what to include if you’re not sure where to begin.


This brings us swiftly onto the third tool.

3. Note-Taking Software

Whether it be a pen and paper, a Google Doc, Microsoft Word, or a meeting productivity app like Fellow you need somewhere to take notes of the one-on-one meetings you’re conducting. This is perhaps the most important of the one-on-one manager tools, allowing you to create a document that you can refer back to.

If at any point you need to take a look at past notes, all you need to do is open your note-taking software and take a look at what the next steps you outlined for yourself were. These will make sure you don’t have to remember every single thing about past manager meetings; you’ll have a summary waiting for you.

Taking notes shouldn’t take long, with a few minutes after the session is enough to draw up any future steps that you intend on taking. These notes also provide a great space to detail the performance of an employee, your backlog of notes demonstrating their process over time. 

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for an easy way to get all of your one-on-one manager tools in one place, then Fellow is the perfect solution. With agendas, meeting calendar reminders, and interactive note-taking software all in one place, Fellow offers the complete meeting solution tool for your company.

Fellow also directly integrates with platforms like Slack and Zoom, allowing your managers to incorporate their one-on-ones with ease. From team meetings to meetings with one employee and just you, Fellow lets you do it all.

Don't let unproductive meetings slow you down

See the impact of fewer, shorter meetings, increased accountability, and enhanced productivity with Fellow.

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