As a manager and as a human, it's really important to make time for and conduct 1-on-1's (referring to them as 1:1's the rest of the post) with your team members and colleagues.
I've found that the following practices generally help lead to successful and fruitful 1:1's.
In my experience a 1:1 is a time where you bring your greatest challenges, questions, concerns and goals to someone you trust and seek guidance from. A 1:1 should not be a status meeting about projects, that should be dealt with separately in either a different meeting or a project management/communication tool.
It's critical to set up a recurring meeting which you can commit to. The most fruitful professional relationships I've had have stemmed from consistent and challenging 1:1's. If you can't make it to a meeting, be sure to give the other party as much lead time as possible and at least meet asynchronously. Having a 1:1 doc is incredibly helpful to track your progress and bring up talking points. Usually I set an alarm to have my 1:1 doc ready at least 30 minutes to an hour before meeting with whomever I'm connecting with and ask that they do the same. Doing so allows me to be super intentional about the time we're spending together.
Something that my friend and colleague Andrew Nelsen taught me to do was add in a section in the 1:1 which says "this meeting will be successful if we achieve:" followed by a bullet point list. Many times there's only one point on the list, so I usually will end up asking a challenging question to promote a thought provoking and challenging conversation.
Usually a successful 1:1 it boils down to subject matter you discuss. I've found keeping a list of questions to ask yourself or whomever you're meeting with spark some wonderful conversations. If you're ever looking for questions to ask during a 1:1 or feeling stuck in your meetings, I put together a list of questions I like to go through below. These are also great conversation starters if you're looking to have a meaningful discussion with someone.
Life altering questions to ask during 1 on 1's and throughout life:
- Who do you want to be?
- What are we doing to get there?
- What's your greatest struggle?
- What was the most fulfilling moment of your career?
- How do you know you're doing a good job?
- What's your dream job?
- What're you passionate about?
- Why do you do what you do?
- How does your work life fit in to your home life?
- What do you wish we were talking about more?
- What do you want to talk about less?
- What was the best part of your week?
- What was the most difficult part of your week?
- What is something you'd like to be working on but you aren't working on yet?
- What does your typical day look like?
- What is your favorite approach to solving problems?
- How do you recharge?
- What's your biggest concern right now?
- How are you making time to focus on these objectives ?
- What are your exercise habits like?
- What are your eating habits like?
- What are you doing to work on your mental health?
I'll likely update this list over time, it was last updated on 12/31/18. If you have any additions to add, please let me know so that I can get them added. 😄