Josh Pigford shares his thoughts and experiences with having a 1-on-1 with each of his team members. The takeaway? They're vital, especially with remote teams. From my own experience, I can echo the sentiment.
I've been on amazing teams where the 1-on-1's were hit and miss. Sometimes we'd have them, other times not. My manager would often let the employee choose to skip the meeting if they felt there was nothing to discuss. That's a huge mistake as it shows that, as a leader, you have plenty of other things to be doing and you do not highly value the time set aside to focus on this individual. In this example, the manager was stellar in all other ways, so it did not overly damage the team, but it was an area needing improvement.
On another team, I had a regular weekly 1-on-1 booked with my direct report. But I could count the number of times he showed up on time (or at all) on one hand over a 6 month period. That's failing as a leader. You're making a strong statement in that scenario.
Rands, as usual, nails it:
Consistently landing your 1:1s at the same time on the same day is a weekly reminder that you are here for them — no matter how busy.
… each time you bail on a 1:1 they hear, “You don’t matter”.
The cliché is “People are your most valuable resource”. I would argue they are your only resource. Computers, desks, building, data centers… Whatever. All of those other tools only support your one and only resource: your people.
Nailed it, indeed. It's all about the people.
Leadership in our connected world is still about being a servant, to teach and mentor. To help your team find what they love to do and help them do it.