Sometimes 1on1s will need to be rescheduled. I’m sure you can relate to having multiple things competing for our time and attention that don’t always neatly fit into calendared time slots.That’s a reality of being a manager.

When needing to reschedule a 1on1, I find it helpful to ask “Why?”

  1. Something else is more important.
    This can be a legitimate answer. There will be issues that urgently require attention. Staff will likely understand. But if this happens frequently it signals to the other person that they are not important. And that’s a problem.

    Some questions that may help include: Why are you having so many urgent issues in the first place, and how can you improve that? Why can’t anyone else handle these issues, and how can you change that? Is there a time less prone to these interruptions?

  2. I’m not in a good headspace for it.
    We’re human too. Maybe something happened, whether professional or personal, and we’re not going to be able to handle the call well. No shame in that. If I find that this is repeating, I’d need to ask myself if this is actually an instance of scenario 3 or 4.

  3. It’s not a good time.
    If I find this is a common answer, for myself or the other person, then I have a strong indicator that we need to find a better time. Having an appointment that is often canceled is frustrating and wasteful calendar clutter.

  4. I don’t want to do it.
    The reasons for this can be varied. Perhaps you find the other person challenging to work with. Or you have a difficult topic that needs to be addressed. Maybe you simply do not enjoy having 1on1s. Whatever the case, it needs to be corrected quickly. If you’re not doing 1on1s, you’re doing a disservice to the staff working with you.

The Manual