14 May Top Tips for People Leaders holding 1:1s
It doesn’t matter whether your company is big or small, whether you are new to the role or a seasoned leader of teams, one of the things you’re expected to do is hold regular 1:1’s with your people. Research from Gallup highlights the importance of these regular conversations. They are imperative for the employee, giving them space to express and learn, for you the leader to gain insight into how best to support the individual and this kind of knowledge is invaluable to company progress. However, amidst the hectic working day, it’s easy to overlook certain aspects of this vital part of company communication. Here are our tips for holding consistent 1:1s and doing them well.
Prior to the 1:1
Our tips for holding consistent 1:1s always starts with great planning.
- Make sure a time and venue to meet is agreed and understood. With time, be respectful of it. On the day, check-in to see that the time still suits. Be aware of what else might be on your colleague’s plate and allow enough time for you both to get to the meeting location. In terms of venue, pick somewhere that is suitable for a good conversation and respect privacy.
- Ensure there’s an opportunity for you and your employee to share, collaborate and comment on talking points in advance of the meeting. This ensures the time you have is focused on what’s important to you both. Such an approach will make your people engage more in the discussion itself rather than wasting time trying to navigate an impromptu agenda at the time.
- Once the items to discuss are agreed, take the time to prepare for the 1:1. There’s nothing worse than showing up unprepared. Your people will pick up on this immediately.
- Never cancel or re-schedule at the last minute. It’s is a big no-no. It’s critical to demonstrate that this time is important.
During the 1:1
- Once underway, always take a few minutes to get a sense of how things are going for your colleague before diving into the agenda. Ask about their general day to day experience in work and also don’t be afraid to ask about how things are outside of work. Such an approach helps build a deeper connection and a more meaningful relationship with your peers.
- Allow your colleague to take the lead on what priorities get discussed. Remember, the talking points are there as a guide. If something urgent needs to be discussed, take the time to do so. Other points of discussion can always get deferred to the next time you meet.
- If a discussion is centred around a concern or difficulty your colleague is having, ask for context. Ask them to give an example, to outline the impact and encourage them to look for possible solutions to the problem at hand. Show your support and where action and follow-up are needed from you, take note.
- When discussing progress on goals, always link the contribution back to the wider company mission. Show how their progress is directly impacting the companies. This will give them a greater sense of contribution.
- When setting goals during a 1:1 always try to frame it again around the companies goals and don’t be afraid to set a stretch goal for your people.
- Regardless of how the tone of a particular 1:1 goes, always look to finish on a positive. Look for good feedback, recognition or a company update that links directly to them.
- Always summarise items discussed and actions for follow-up.
- Ask for feedback on venue choice and time for meeting in terms of suitability. Such an approach allows you to iterate and improve before the next time you both meet.
Post the 1:1
A big part of good meetings is how your document and follow-up. Our tips for holding consistent 1:1s also involve events post meeting.
- Always document a summary of the points discussed and share with your team member. Do so promptly and not weeks after the discussion.
- Where there are items for you to action, clearly outline what your colleague can expect from you and by when.
- Bring forward items that were not discussed in the previous 1:1, while allowing the opportunity to collaborate a new share agenda once again.
- Remember that the work you do post 1:1 is equally, if not more important.