Ben Horowitz on the value of 1:1 meetings:
The key to a good one-on-one meeting is the understanding that it is the employee’s meeting rather than the manager’s meeting. This is the free-form meeting for all the pressing issues, brilliant ideas and chronic frustrations that do not fit neatly into status reports, email and other less personal and intimate mechanisms.
I tend to enjoy structured meetings with predefined goals, that end with clear decisions or results. But setting aside unstructured time to listen (not talk) is equally valuable when used appropriately.