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Take Your One on One Meeting to the Next Level With These 6 Tips for Managers

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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Take Your One on One Meeting to the Next Level With These 6 Tips for Managers

Take Your One on One Meeting to the Next Level With These 6 Tips for Managers

https://firstround.com/review/managers-take-your-1-1s-to-the-next-level-with-these-6-must-reads/

firstround.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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.

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.

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"?

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Why 1:1’s are important
  • Making time for an individual says you give a damn about them as a person.
  • The 1:1 is the only forum where you can have an honest, private, conversation with each other a...
Set expectations
  • If this is a new process you are putting in place at your company/in your team, be transparent about it.
  • Be clear that you do this with all employees who work directly for you.
  • Book a regular cadence of 1:1s. They should not be ad-hoc. It’s ok to skip one every once and awhile, but having it locked into the calendar is a commitment.
  • Decide the best cadence with them (weekly or every other week? 30 minutes or an hour?) and what the format should be.
The agenda
  • Topics in a 1:1 should be about professional growth, personal connection and for giving each other feedback. Do not use the meeting to re-hash things from a group meeting, unless there are specific things you took off-line in that meeting or need to provide/get constructive feedback.
  • 24 hours or so before the meeting, email the employee a list of what you’d like to cover. Try to do a split between strategic, tactical and personal items and always ask your employee what they want to cover too. 

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Change the setting sometimes

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...

It's ok to cancel

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.

Let the employee own the agenda

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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One on one meetings

...are held between a team leader and team member

They are conversations that usually last no longer than 10 to 30 minutes where they discuss what is going well and what needs t...

A recommended agenda

Most effective one on one meetings typically last about 30 minutes:

  • 10 minutes for the direct report from the employee;
  • 10 minutes for the manager’s remarks and messages, and;
  • 10 minutes for the employee and manager to draw a way forward.
Objectives of effective 1:1 meetings
  • find out about the employee’s current emotional state.
  • track the status of the employee’s performance and how their goals are coming along.
  • learn if there are any obstacles in the way to the employee’s goals.
  • discuss specific issues – either the employee’s, the manager’s, or both.
  • get honest value-added feedback from the employee.
  • provide an opportunity for the manager to coach the employee.
  • share formal and informal information about the team and company as a whole.

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Must-have questions for 1:1 meetings
  1. How’s life? - Helps with building trust.
  2. What are you worried about right now?  
  3. What rumors are you hearing that you think I should know about? ...
Coaching

Focuses on helping another person learn in ways that let him or her keep growing afterward. 

Its purpose is to increase effectiveness, broaden thinking, identify strengths an...

Keys to effective coaching
  • Building the relationship. It's easier to learn from someone you trust.
  • Providing assessment. Where they are now where they want to go. 
  • Challenging thinking and assumptions.
  • Supporting and encouraging employees to make progress toward their goals.
  • Driving results. Helping the employee set meaningful goals and identifying the steps for meeting them.
Remote-first Mindset

Accept that you have to put in place remote work systems, even if more than half of your employees ultimately revert to office-based work.

  • If done right, a remote-first infrastructu...
Build a socially-connected culture

Intentionally design for the same interactions that would otherwise happen if people were in the office.

  • Culture is what naturally happens when a group of people gets together for any period.
  • A great culture happens with intentional design and influence. It's the reason you should make your company's mission, vision, values, operating principles, standards, and agreements visible. 
  • Culture is experienced through emotions, including how your employees feel about the company, you, other leaders, and peers. That feeling is developed through human interaction at the water cooler, kitchen, or hallway conversations.
Your leadership presence

Your people need to feel your presence as a leader as they will have fewer opportunities to see you face to face when they work remotely.

  • Regularly show up in a variety of forms that can include weekly video meetings, periodic company-wide emails, or presence in public channels.
  • Err on the side of more communication rather than less.

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Feedback
Feedback

Feedback provides an opportunity to gain insights about a person's personal and professional actions.
Without feedback, we will move in the same direction without realizing our shortcomings. ...

Types of feedback
  • Positive vs. negative. Positive feedback confirms that someone is taking good action, while negative feedback shows what actions need to be corrected.
  • Formal vs. informal. Formal feedback is given on a set schedule, and informal feedback is short and follows after an action or event.
  • Annual vs. monthly
  • Verbal vs. written
  • Manager vs. peer
Effective feedback
Effective feedback is:
  • Objective. Don't let your personal feelings get in the way.
  • Timely. Feedback should follow when the event is still fresh.
  • Constructive. Give respect and show that you have their best interests in mind.
  • Actionable. Feedback must include immediate next steps.
  • Warranted. Give your employees room for mistakes and learn from them.

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Why setting expectations is critical

One of the top reasons for unhappiness in the workplace is communication issues with one’s manager/supervisor.

Managers tend to make incorrect assumptions that employees have al...

Work

It’s crucial for your team to know exactly what is expected of them.

The unwritten rules about the level of quality expected in the work, and the depth of knowledge that needs to be displayed, are what defines a successful work project.

What are the boundaries of an employee’s responsibilities? What are and what aren’t the roles of the job?

Communication
Communication is one of the most critical components of organizational life, and it is far too important to leave to chance.

What’s the preferred way of communicating, both formally and informally? What should be the frequency of communication? What are the protocols for communication at different levels – while reporting to the manager or even upper management?

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Treat Everyone with Respect

When you're building a team or company, you simply can't afford to lose great people. Treat them with respect and you're one step closer to keeping them on your team long-term.

Encourage Dissent

To do great things, you and your people need to consistently think outside the box. You need people who feel very comfortable disagreeing with you, trying new things, tossing out new ideas, and being okay with the fact that several of their ideas may turn out to be outright awful.

Make the Final Decision and Move On

If you are the manager, make final decisions. And to do so decisively: evaluate all the options in front of you, hear and absorb everyone's arguments, and ultimately make the final call, with arguments. 

Even if you've expressed dissent as an employee, it'll benefit you to let your manager make their call and then focus on what's next, rather than staying preoccupied with past decisions.

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Feeling included in organizations
Feeling included in organizations

What leaders say and will contribute up to 70 % to whether an individual will feeling included. 

The more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collabor...

Traits inclusive-leaders share
  • They articulate an authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold others accountable, and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority.
  • They are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.
  • They show awareness of personal blind spots, as well as flaws in the system.
  • They demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others.
  • They are attentive to others’ cultures and adapt as required.
  • They empower others and focus on team cohesion.
The most important trait

If a leader wants to know what is the most important trait, commitment is the most critical.
For those working around a leader, the single most important trait is a leader's visible awareness of bias - a leader that constantly challenges their own bias and encourage others to note their pre-conceived leanings. Raters also care about humility and empathy.

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