1:1 Basics
A guide for managers to lead one-on-one meetings
Leah Hahn avatar
Written by Leah Hahn
Updated over a week ago

What is it?

A regularly scheduled private meeting between an employee and their direct manager.

Why do you do it?

To help employees get the support they need to reach their full potential at work.

What are the benefits?

  • Employees can freely express in a “safe space” what is going well, what they are struggling with, what questions they have, and barriers they may be facing

  • Managers can provide guidance and encouragement

  • Helps employees feel confident in their work and decisions they are making

  • Creates a culture of continuous improvement and success

  • Establishes a trusting relationship between an employee and their manager

One-on-ones are regularly scheduled meetings between an employee and their direct manager where employees can express themselves in a safe space. Having one-on-ones will create a culture of continuous improvement and success.

How do you do it?

  • Have a regularly scheduled time to meet for 30-minutes every week.

  • Use a standard agenda and both parties come prepared for the discussion … but be flexible if needed depending on the discussion.

  • Make it conversational and focused on the needs of the employee. This is their time to share their thoughts and get manager input.

  • Include personal topics that the employee is willing to share like family updates, interests, medical issues, etc. (but don’t pry)

  • Show your genuine care and concern for the employee

What is an example agenda?

  • Check-in questions such as “How are you feeling today? (green/yellow/red)

  • What is going well for you? What are you proud of?

  • What is your biggest challenge right now? Let’s talk about that.

  • Where do you need help in the coming week?

  • Here is some input I have that might be helpful to you.

  • Do you have any questions/comments about any team or company topics?

  • Do you have any suggestions for changes or improvements?

  • Any personal events we should cover such as PTO, medical appointments, family situations, etc.?

1:1 Resources

1:1 Agenda

1:1 Question Bank

Podcast Episode

Do Not …

  • Don’t skip the meeting. Occasional re-schedules are OK with advance warning. Show your support by making this a priority.

  • Don’t replace it with casual unplanned conversations or having an “open door policy.” This should be a separate, scheduled, focused meeting.

  • Don’t use this for other purposes like discussing a detailed work project or talking about long term objectives. Those should be separate meetings.

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