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Bite-Size Insights: How can leaders run effective one-on-ones?

Nov 24, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

On this Bite-Size, we’re going deep on one the most important tools for managers: the 1:1. Specifically, how can leaders run effective one-on-one meetings? Helping us share some tactical insights are two Emplifiers, Chris Sego, People Insights Consultant, and Christi Pendarvis, Senior Director of Customer Success.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Hey, insights, listeners Nicole here. And thanks for joining me for this week's bite-sized insights, empowering people leaders with best-in-class information in 10 minutes or less. Now amplify recently launched a new 23 minute webinars series where each week we're talking with experts on topics, like how to foster remote cultures.
How to develop your talent and how to create a practice of gratitude to register. Simply go to That's E M P L I F Now on this week's bite-size we are going deep on one of the most important tools for managers. The one-on-one. Helping us share some tactical insights.
Our two amplifiers, Chris Sego, people, insights, consultant, and Kristy pen. Darvis senior director of customer success. So let's welcome them and have them answer the question. How can leaders run more effective? One-on-one
[00:01:00] today's employees are looking for far more than a paycheck. They want to find a company where they are going to keep developing their skills, where they're going to feel like what they're doing really does matter to meaningful where they can achieve their personal goals and what they want to do in their career on what their, their time.
On the other hand, you as employers are also being very, very selective on the employees that you want to have join your organization. You're looking for employees that are highly motivated. That really are going to work hard for the company they're going to fit in and get along well with others. And so, as we think about one-on-one feedback, it's really ideal because it's bringing both of these groups and parties together so they can be aligned on these common goals.
And we both are trying to have a win-win as we move forward in our relationship together. So, uh, this [00:02:00] is a private meeting, uh, between an employee and their direct manager or supervisor. We recommend that it be weekly for 30 minutes. Uh, but there's variations of that. You will have to create the right cadence for yourself, but it should never be more than three weeks.
And it should be kind of a standing meeting on your calendar every Tuesday at two o'clock, that kind of thing. You're going to want to start with a standard agenda. We want both parties to kind of know what to expect, to be able to come prepared with their thoughts and ideas. About on the other hand, we want to make sure that we do have flexibility.
This is a time for that employee some time when you're going to concentrate really hard on talking with them and hearing about their interests, their needs, their concerns. Yeah, so we may need to adapt in the course of that discussion to be able to respond to the issues of the day. It's definitely designed to be while we've got structure, it should be [00:03:00] conversational. And again, it is this. Really a time for the employee to really hit know and talk with their manager, know that someone's concerned about them and to be able to get guidance and directions on the things that they're working on above all else. I use this time to build a relationship and show that you really do care and you have conserved for that employee and you want them to be successful in your organization.
In those sessions do make sure you're providing support, encouragement. You're being caring. Sometimes we do have to talk about constructive comments, but definitely balance those with positive. We want this to be a positive experience and emphasizing the strengths of employees and the things that they really bring to the table.
I'll make sure that following the meeting, you do follow up on any action items that you've promised to send them this, or take care of this that you make sure that's a priority for you and do make the meeting of priority. We know sometimes we have to reschedule, but that should be rare. Let's [00:04:00] try to make this a priority for you and the employee and help them know that it does matter to you.
On the other hand, they don't use this time for regular work. Don't spend that half hour talking about a project that's going on, set up another time to do that. This really should be focused really on the needs of the employee and that the things that they're not excited about, some things they're concerned about, don't share any of the details of the meeting with anyone else. This is private. We want to make it a safe space. And so keep, keep it that way and don't make any promises that you can't keep. Don't make a comment like, Oh, I'm putting on the promotion list for next quarter. When you maybe that you can't keep that promise. So be careful on the things that you commit to.
So typical agenda, this is a starting point. You certainly can create your own style. You may change it over time, but we want to start with kind of a check-in question. That seems kind of obvious, you know, how are you doing today? But [00:05:00] remember that we have so many people now working remotely, that we aren't bumping into people at the coffee room.
We aren't seeing them come in. We maybe don't have that sense of how they are doing so it's good to just check in and take that time to. Start slowly and then see how they're doing and how they're feeling about life and their work. Let's talk about them. What's going well for them. What are they proud of?
What have they been accomplishing? Then also talk about their challenges. What are they concerned about the spend some time maybe offering your advice and thoughts on ways they can navigate some things that might be harder for them. Where do they need your help in the coming week or the next day?
Short-term. Are there things that you can do to support them, that they need your help on. We can talk about progress on their goals and objectives. Again, the meeting shouldn't be all about that. You can, you know, every quarter. So set aside a meeting just for that purpose, or again, set another meeting time, [00:06:00] but we do want to just, you can touch base, just say, you know, how you're feeling about your, that project that you're working on.
That goal that I know you're trying to get done by the end of the quarter. Well, if you've got some input to pass along, this would be a time to do it. I had a, a nice surprise from my manager. Last week, she passed along a compliment that she'd heard about something that I'd done, and she saved that. And let me know, made me feel good, but also was nicer for, I knew that she cared enough to remember that and to note them to pass it along to me, that means a lot to people when you'd make that extra effort like that.
It's a time when we can just clarify. I think we've rolled out a new process at the team. Something's come up at the company level, make sure everyone's understanding that the employee doesn't have any questions about that or need any details to be cleared up on that. And then it can also be a time we kind of touch base any personal events.
Is there upcoming PTO and the appointments are their family situations. We should be aware of don't pry, but if people are comfortable when to share those [00:07:00] things, and this would be a time when you could do that privately. The best way to have a good working relationship to be aligned on goals is to actually spend time together.
And that's why one-on-ones are perfect. It does bring people together. Uh, they do have a chance to talk. They really have a chance to develop this good working relationship. And so we can accomplish more together and navigate difficult situations, more smoothly. I have a unique experience of managing a team of employee engagement, consultants and coaches who speak to management best practices every day.
So for me, as a manager, it can be very humbling at times. And one of the areas that I know that I need to work on, that I can get better at is structured feedback. So it had come up and we were on our own amplify insights assessment. Right. And it did come up as an area that I knew I needed to work on.
With the team. And so about two quarters ago, one of my actions that I logged was to improve my one-on-ones and I sat down with the team and [00:08:00] we said, okay, we talked about best practices here. Tell me your best practices. And I am going to follow this. I'm going to follow those. It might be uncomfortable.
We're going to test our own best practices. I love the red, yellow, green question at the beginning of a one-on-one you get really creative answers, but getting that context is so important. If hearing somebody say, are you red, yellow, green, willing. I lime umbrella. Okay. Well, what does the line mean to you?
Why are you agreeing with the twinge of yellow? Let's talk about that, right? And it just sets that context for the whole conversation. And if you don't get that context to start, you can't start the meeting cause you don't really know where they're coming from. So I, I love that question. You have to be realistic and sustainable with the scheduling of one-on-ones that's. Something. I learned, I had to move one-on-ones to every other week, a few months ago, and I went to the team and I said that, and they said, well, we recommend weekly, right? That's the best practice, but bi-weekly, we'll be okay. And we moved to Dubai weekly and I checked in with the team and it seems to be working.
It seems the right patients, [00:09:00] but, but it's that, it's that check-in and also being deliberate about. If you need to be flexible, be transparent and tell them why and tell them why you're changing the cadence. So it doesn't feel like you just don't care, right. Or it's just not important as time systems to support.
15 five has been really helpful, but I think just having any tool or any system to help keep organized is great. So before 15 five, we're using G sheets as just tracking agenda items. And I think the key there is having that shareable to both parties. So the manager and the individual, and having people put in their agenda items in advance of the meeting and why I think that's important as it gives insight to both groups to see what the other person might have on their list, that they can go and prepare.
And it also shows to the employee, it shows the manager took it. Took a few minutes to sit down and think about the meeting before we're going into it. Right. It's that important of a conversation to think about and to prepare just as you would any other meeting and putting an agenda items down in advance.
So whether that's a system like [00:10:00] 55 or whether that's a tracking with a shared document, it's just having that organization instruction, thoughtfulness. I think that's really important to other learnings. One other question I really liked. What's your biggest blocker or what's your biggest challenge right now?
And the reason I really like that is if you ask, well, how are you fine if you ask, um, how can I support you? What can I do to help support you? Nothing. I got it. Right. But if you ask what's your biggest blocker, what's your biggest challenge? There's, there's a different answer to that because they're not necessarily saying they can't handle it, or it doesn't feel like a weakness, but it's, it's just talking about where they're struggling.
So I really liked that question as well. And then lastly, I, I recommend you. You just have to, you have to share with your team what you're doing to change your approach. It's not good to just go and start changing how you do things without giving the context of why or trying something out. It's certainly humbling to sit and say to your team.
I'm not as good at feedback. I'm not very good with structured agenda. So we're going to work on that together. It can be really uncomfortable and it can be [00:11:00] uncomfortable for both sides of the party. But I think that that open dialogue is really important and it sets the tone and it provides the right context for transparency and for growth, and it just makes it relatable.
And then, then you can have fun with it and tweak it as you go. Thank you for joining this week's bite-size insights. I hope that you learned something new and if you're looking for more in-depth content, be sure to register for our 23 minute webinars series at