We’ve talked about the importance of the one on one meeting in regards to effective management of your team. I’ve gone as far as to describe it as a superpower if you can get it right by using an effective agenda and embracing the right behaviours.
Today, I want to give you one tool that I’ve developed and used a lot over the years, as well as giving this to managers who I’ve trained. When training other managers, I try to avoid being too prescriptive with my advice because I’m a firm believer in letting people develop their own styles of management and leadership.
However, frameworks, templates and checklists can be incredibly helpful, particularly for new managers who need a bit of a head start and concrete guidance.
If you want to skip to the end, you can find the templates here:
The rest of today’s post will give some context to each of the template elements so that you understand them and are able to use each one effectively.
One on one agenda template elements
Let’s explore each element of the one on one meeting template and you can decide if you’d like to use each one and whether you’d like to use them as they are, or whether you’d prefer to adapt them. Remember, you can absolutely adapt them to your own leadership style and for each person that you manage.
Open floor – How are they doing?
I always like to kick off the meeting with a very open ended question – how are they doing? If you need to be more specific to prompt some responses, you can ask how things have been going since you last spoke or over the last few weeks.
The point here is to give the team member a chance to talk about anything that’s already on their mind or that they clearly want to talk about. The rest of the agenda elements are far more specific, so use this section to tease out anything that you may not already be aware of.
Whilst I’m a big advocate of an approach whereby you’re never surprised by the topics brought up during a one on one meeting, you need to ensure that you give space to learn new things that you may not already know.
What has gone well?
Next, you can try to build some positive momentum and ask what has gone well over the last few weeks. This could range from positive results that they’ve achieved or great feedback that they’ve received from colleagues.
You should also prepare for this section by noting anything positive that you’ve noticed recently and take the opportunity to either share this if they haven’t heard it yet, or remind them of any positive work that has happened which may have gotten lost in the day-to-day work that they’ve doing.
The key here is to remind them of good work that they’ve been doing which is particularly important for team members who tend to lean a bit more towards negativity bias, meaning that they remember negative things more easily than positive ones.
What hasn’t gone well?
Whilst it’s important to talk about positive things that have happened, particularly for those with strong negative bias. At the same time, you can’t ignore or gloss over anything that hasn’t been so positive.
Again, you need to prepare for this and be prepared to address anything that has gone wrong, such as a lack of results, a lack of productivity, negative feedback or even poor behaviours that you’ve observed.
Ideally, the individual will already be aware of some of this and bring it up themselves, but you are likely to need to prompt some of this or even tell them about things that they may not be aware of.
Remember to use this feedback framework to adapt your feedback delivery to the type of feedback that you’re delivering.
How are they getting on with quarterly objectives?
Assuming that you’re doing one on one meetings on a monthly basis, you should be using them to check in on the bigger picture of someone’s career development. Specifically, you should ask about their larger objectives and check in to make sure that they are working towards them.
This is really helpful because the last thing that you want is to get to a quarterly or annual review, ask about their objectives and their response is that they haven’t had time to work on them – a common response in busy workplaces.
By checking in during a monthly one on one, you can find these problems sooner and try to help solve them before it’s too late.
How can I help?
Finally, always end one on one meetings by asking how you can help and if there is anything specific that you can do for them. If you’re struggling to get responses here, you may need to have an idea or two in mind, but either way, finish a one on one meeting by asking what you can do to help them.
Your One on One Meeting Template
To wrap up, if you haven’t checked it out already, you can find a one on one meeting template here:
- Google Slides One on One Meeting Template
- PDF One on One Meeting Template
- Google Docs One on one Meeting Template
Let me know if you use them and how you get on with them!