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‘You’re doing them wrong’: Worker explains why one-on-one meetings feel ‘pointless’

One-on-one meetings are deceptively tricky to get right.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


A prompt on office TikTok is sparking a lot of interesting advice this month, asking one simple question: “What is a corporate survival skill you wish you knew sooner?” So far the responses have ranged from “document everything” to “know your company politics,” but one popular answer is a lot more specific. Aiming her advice specifically at managers, this TikToker pointed out that a lot of people just don’t know how to run one-on-one meetings.

“Originally I was just giving updates,” creator Samantha (@samsramblings) explains in a stitch with the original “corporate survival skills” prompt. “Eventually I realized I have to give updates and tell them what needs to be unblocked… Plus share wins, as well as share questions about what I can uplevel what to do better.”

In other words, some managers don’t understand how to make one-on-one meetings into productive two-way conversations, helping people improve their work. It’s an acquired skill, Samantha says, illustrating the learning curve between a potentially-useless meeting and a one-on-one where coworkers actually do something constructive.

@samsramblings #stitch with @amirahgivesadvice #corporatelife #corporate #corporatetiktok #corporatelatina #work #worklife #career #careeradvice #techtok ♬ original sound – Samantha

Interestingly, the replies to the video pretty much prove her point. One top comment reads, “I feel like one on ones are pointless.” Samantha argued back, “Then you’re doing them wrong and/or have a piss poor manager or are a bad manager.”

Other commenters shared their own one-on-one horror stories, like “Mine likes to mansplain for 30 minutes,” and “if I don’t start crying during my 1 on 1 that’s a win for me.” Others described 1:1 meetings as exhausting and pointless.

Still, Samantha’s advice earned praise from another manager on TikTok, who wrote, “I find this structure beneficial for both parties. If folks don’t bring up these topics, I ask questions to get this information.”

It’s clear that a lot of managers just haven’t thought about how to run one-on-one meetings in a productive way, which is why this TikTok grabbed so many people’s attention. Poorly-run meetings are a common workplace pet peeve, but it’s often hard to understand why certain meetings seem boring or pointless. So Samantha’s reframing of one-on-ones is a rather useful corporate survival skill.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @samsramblings via TikTok comment.

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