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Change the setting sometimes

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 grab or schedule a room and get right into it. Every once in awhile, though, offer to change the setting, as a chance to interact with your team member more as a human being than as just the boss.

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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. 

  1. Results: it is entirely appropriate to include “Progress toward goals” as a standing agenda item in a 1:1. Just don't make the entire meeting about that.
  2. Career development: Regular investment in growth and development helps everyone.
  3. Feedback from the employee: The 1:1 is not the place for the manager to give feedback to the employee.

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RELATED IDEAS

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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After the meeting

It is important to always follow up any 1:1  with notes on what was discussed, decisions made and, if relevant, any constructive feedback that will be measured going forward. Keep it short and sweet.

  • 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.