Emphasis is often placed on a manager's ability to lead and motivate an entire staff, but the ability to maintain positive one-on-one relationships with each employee significantly impacts the long-term success of a manager's business or department. Employees typically prefer to follow managers they believe care about them as people.

General Consideration

Managers typically must balance two leadership factors to achieve long-term success in motivating employees: task direction and relationship ability. Personal interaction with employees can positively affect both. Most directly, one-on-one visits allow you to inquire about how an employee is doing and to show genuine concern for him as a person. This subsequently helps when you delegate tasks, because the employee more likely respects your position as a manager and believes you wouldn't ask him to do something that negatively affects him or the company.

Coaching and Training

One-on-one relationships are important to ongoing coaching and training of employees. The more comfortable an employee is with his manager, the more open he is to listening and heeding advice. He will also more likely ask questions to clarify misunderstandings if he feels comfortable in his job and connection with the manager. The employee's ability to develop professionally improves, and the manager can develop his workforce to optimal levels.

Goal Setting

Managers set goals for a business or department, but they also work individually with employees to set job and professional goals. When a manager and employee get along well, they can collaborate more effectively to set goals that challenge and motivate the employee to strong performance. This is especially true if the manager communicates how performance and skill development can contribute to opportunities for advancement for the employee.


Communication should not be a one-way street for managers. They also need to rely on employees to provide feedback on tasks and projects, to address any concerns or conflicts, and to make suggestions on improvement for the department. When a manager has strong one-on-one relationships with each employee, his staff will more likely feel comfortable coming around with ideas or feedback. This is critical to continued relationships and organizational or departmental growth.