Guide to Successful 1:1s
A few questions related to various aspects of work:
This is a professional note extracted from an online article.
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1:1s (or one-on-ones) are worth every leader's time, help maintain employee relationships, and builds trust.
We need to equip ourselves for common challenges and choose the right questions to ask while ensuring adequate follow up.
Rather than being a clueless boss, it is imperative to become a respected leader, one who has harnessed the energy, resources, and processes to work optimally, with the right information at hand.
A one-on-one meeting with an employee should:
One-on-one meetings open up a Pandora's box of valuable information and benefit everyone. By getting things off their chest and being assured of your support, employees see the leader as trustworthy. And if there is any problem or issue that comes out in the open during the discussion, it can get solved at a faster rate together.
If employees are not familiar with 1:1 meetings, they might think it is a precursor to layoffs, or think of them as another waste of time.
Make sure the right message goes across the team, ensuring that these sessions are now a regular occurrence, and involve you meeting with everyone one by one, to discuss priorities and problems that don't fit in other meetings.
If there is resistance or your employees are short of time, offer them assistance with their work, or accommodate them to a different time, while underlining the importance of the 1:1 session.
If the employee only wants to talk or badmouth co-workers, the leader needs to steer them back, making them focus on what can be controlled. Look for key points in their venting and check if anything that is mentioned is not unlawful harassment for anyone.
Some other ways to ensure compliance:
Chronically unhappy employees are always at risk of quitting or committing a mistake. The leader needs to work with them and prioritize their growth, compensate them fairly, and optimize their daily work.
If the employee doesn't trust you, start with a clean slate and provide direct assurance that you are going to do your best in addressing any problem. If need be, you can apologize for any past issues.
Once a leader realizes that there is a lot to be learned and everyone around us has an internal life as rich and conflicted as ours, a mutually benefiting 1:1 can be conducted.
One has to know the right questions to ask, not thinking of oneself as an authority figure, but as a learning partner of one's employees and as a student of their insights.
Many issues cannot be solved in a 20-minute meeting, and it is a good practice to follow up and provide a solution at a later time.
Important points for Follow-up:
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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.
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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For a meeting to meet this outcome, or objective, you have to be clear about what it is.
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Occasionally, go for a walk and have your 1:1. Occasionally, go get coffee. Go sit in the courtyard. Get lunch or breakfast or dinner. Most often, it’s probably easiest and most efficient to...
If there’s nothing to discuss, it’s ok to cancel. People, too often, view 1:1s as mandatory, but it’s refreshing when you both acknowledge that things are ok for now, or the time may be better spent other ways.
It is a simple, symbolic practice that helps them feel ownership and autonomy for their work and their time.
You’re saying, “You tell me what’s important,” and of course you can coach and guide them to help refine over time what’s important.
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