one on ones

Four Strategies When Holding 1-on-1s

By: Daniel Soeiro Sanches, Guest Post

I took quite some time until I found out how 1:1's would work out well for me and my team--it actually took me a year. When I look back and think about what has actually helped me in having constructive 1:1's, I have 4 points that I follow:

1) One Size Doesn't Fit All

People are so different from each other and have so many different interests and ambitions (personal and professional) that even though you might standardise on a template or a series of questions, the most important is that over time you understand how to get each person talking which will be unique.

2) Understand Why You Need to Have 1:1’s

Across the different types of people that I have managed, driven by their uniqueness in styles and background I have found out extremely useful to understand why I need to have 1:1's. The most frequent whys that I have discovered are: 1) a need for coaching; 2) a need for getting up to speed on the small details that are not talked in the drumbeat team meetings; 3) provide a safe environment for feedback and discussion and any other topics that could be affecting performance; and 4) provide a time slot to discuss career and ambitions.

3) Good Quality 1:1's Require Preparation

This can be done via a template, but what I typically do to make sure there is always something to discuss is: 1) note down three to four things concerning the person's work that I want to know more about; 2) note down specific feedback from the past week/weeks (and this alternates between feedback on how to improve, and recognition for work completed); and 3) always request feedback on something I may have done over the past time period since we last talked.

4) Some 1:1's Should Be Strategic On a Quarterly Basis

I always ask my reportee to review her/his workplace and provide me with an overview of the results achieved to date and whether they are on track/off track. This provides room for discussion, open and honest feedback and typically also supports my building of a story for the person when the performance review time comes up. It also makes sure both of us are up to speed.

For more information and to connect with Daniel, please see his LinkedIn Profile:


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