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Submitted by todmv01 on


I work for a large IT service provider in the State, Local Government, sector. I have 40 direct reports across five teams. To me, this quanity is beyond a reasonable expectation for bi-weekly one-on-one meetings. Is a monthly cycle too long?

Thank you,


mattpalmer's picture

If there's five teams, can you create a bit of hierarchy by team, so you reduce the number of directs and delegate out the management a bit?  It provides a great opportunity for people to grow.

Even if you can't, though, a bi-weekly one-on-one cycle isn't impossible -- it'll be 10 hours out of your week, or 2 hours per day.  Yes, that's a fair chunk of your day, but given the importance of regular communication to your team's effectiveness, I think it's entirely worth it.

tiomikel's picture
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I just learned at the conference that conducing O3s monthly is actually worse than not doing them at all. It's better to find a way to do them bi-weekly. Apparently a monthly comes across as a dog-and-pony show and just annoys the directs (If I am recalling the presentation correctly)

I'm sorry I don't have a solution for scheduling other than what Matt Palmer suggested. Also like his suggestion of creating some other reporting structure that allows you to reduce the number you have to communicate with directly.


rossrader's picture
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 Sounds to me like you've got too many direct reports. I don't know of any effective managers with 40 directs. They might exist, I've just never met one.

In my experience, strong managers can juggle 12-15 directs for a short period of time and that the strongest relationships can be formed with roughly 6-10 directs. 

If you haven't already, you might want to consider restructuring in some way to include some team leads or supervisors that report to you and have the remaining 35 people report to those intermediate staffers.

Singers's picture

Sorry but I have to disagree on monthly being worse then not doing them! 

In my first job, my boss did monthly 1:1's and I would have been lost without them. Saying that weekly would always be better - but never having the opportunity to talk to you boss 1:1 without having to somehow "request" it.... I would say a big no no.

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536