Take Your One on One Meeting to the Next Level With These 6 Tips for Managers - Deepstash
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1:1 meetings

1:1 meetings

1:1 meetings matter. It is important to nurture that essential employee-manager relationship. But it still not easy to get right.

Under pressures, managers are still juggling commitments. Then there's the issue of what to cover, and to avoid a half-hearted performance as a manager.

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1:1 category

The goal of an effective 1:1 is not an update from your direct report or for you to lay down some instructions. It's a conversation. It's a chance to hear about your direct reports' ideas for your product, their career goals, and possibly their opinion of their performance.

Keep a list of three potential topics ready for discussion. When they say they have nothing to discuss, you can jumpstart the conversation with one of your items.

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Manager's best tool

Your most precious resource is your own time and energy. When you spend it on your team, it helps build healthy relationships.

Your job as a manager isn't to give advice or 'save the day.'' It's to empower your reports to find the answer themselves. If you want to understand what's going on, ask. Let her lead the conversation while you listen and probe.

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Sickness vs. symptoms approach

When people come with specific problems or concerns during 1:1s, try and dig deeper to diagnose the root of a problem.

  • When someone is particularly stressed or tense, and they don't know why, ask them things like what part of the day these feelings are the strongest. This allows you to identify triggers, be it meetings, people, or certain types of work.
  • Ask: "Where's your head at?" This simple question can give them a chance to talk about what's bothering them.
  • To get people to open up, model the behavior. Be open and honest about your own life, problems, and concerns, regardless of where someone ranks in the organization.

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Stay specific (yet open-ended)

Ask specific but open-ended questions to enable you to see the other point of view and see all the dimensions of a problem.

  • Ask, "What's harder than it should be?" It helps you identify patterns when you talk to various people.
  • "Is there anything you'd like to ask or highlight"?

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Check your empathy first

Before discussing performance in a 1:1 meeting, check your empathy first. You want to add value and find out how your direct report feels.

  • Does the person you're managing feel invested in your company or team goals?
  • Does he/she feel as if you've got his/her back?
  • Do you know what motivates him/her?
  • Both parties must get something out of this relationship. What are you offering vs. what you're expecting?
  • Does your direct report understand what he/she is supposed to do? How to do it?
  • Does he/she have the right training, right scope, proper authority, right resources, and enough time to do as you need?
  • Does he/she know how important your ask is?
  • What does he/she need from you or other colleagues?
  • Is he/she encountering bottlenecks?

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Make performance reviews more impactful

Keep careful notes and actually follow up in special 1:1s. Your reports value your feedback.

Keep track of instances where your report did well, where they're lacking, or where they generally did something noteworthy. Share these things with your report in weekly 1:1s.

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Create a two-sided action plan

After a performance review, ask your report to list five to seven concrete actions they want to work on over the next six months and write them down. Check in regularly on this plan, but don't use your regular 1:1 time.

When your direct report asks for advice, ask them first what they think.

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Put structure in every meeting

Unstructured meetings are a waste of time. In order to let the report take ownership of the meeting, prep and set the agenda. Your report will fill in part of the content. Managers owe their teams:

  • Clear and straightforward expectations.
  • Proactive, rather than reactive, performance management.
  • Opportunity for mastery. Deliver feedback and performance conversations that will empower your reps to attain proficiency in their roles.

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Prep checklist

  • Identify a success metric for the meeting. Create an agenda that will allow you to meet that purpose. (The reason for this meeting is...)
  • Craft the items on your agenda.
  • Build appropriate reporting and dashboards.
  • Review relevant data beforehand. Come to the meeting prepared with targeted points of discussion.

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