If you want to be a good team manager, you need to rely on effective tools such as one on one meetings.
It doesn’t matter if you lead a small startup or a massive company: as long as you are a distant entity detached from your employees, your relationships with your team members will be poor. Therefore, you won’t be able to know what they are thinking about the work they do.
Even worst, they are going to misunderstand your guidance and that will affect the performance of your team. If you want to be an effective leader, you should make the most of your one on one meetings. In the end, your time is limited, so you need to know exactly what should you talk about.
Understanding and planning a one on one Meeting
Before a meeting, you need to know what topics you want to cover. This kind of meeting is a rare chance to talk directly with a worker about subjects that otherwise won’t be mentioned, but one on one meetings can make a huge difference in the engagement and morale of a team.
During the 30 – 60 minutes that a one on one meeting should last, you will be able not only to listen to whatever your employee wants to express, but also to ask him key questions that will lead the conversation and allow you to explore deep into his ideas, frustrations, needs and get a nice feedback with good follow-up questions.
Depending on the subject you want to dig deeper into, you need to prepare in advance some questions that lead the conversation to a common and productive ground. Of course, that will be only a general guideline to get the one on one meeting up and running.
The one on one meeting questions you need to ask to…
There are several objectives that you may achieve with the right questions in a one on one meeting. Here we present some of them.
Any good manager / team member relationship is built on trust and rapport. To show that you care, you need to know your team member as an individual.
For that, you need to know what’s important to them and about their interests. Then, you should start with this one on one meeting questions:
- How are you?
- How is your life outside of work?
- Did you celebrate [Some past Holiday]? How was it?
- How is [name of child] doing?
- What do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?
Know if your team is happy
If a team member is unhappy, especially if work is the cause, he will affect the entire team. So you need to know the issues that are bothering your employees. It should be safe for them to be honest in a one on one meeting, so you want to ask the these questions:
- Is your job what you expected?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?
- Are you happy with your work? Why or why not?
- Who are your friends with at work?
- What’s on your mind?
Give and receive comments & feedback
Due to the private nature of a one on one meeting, it is the perfect space to get honest feedback. Here you have the opportunity to ask your employees freely, without the resistance that can come from public feedback.
Also, you must remember that feedback is a two-way street, so be as open as possible. You can start that discussion with these questions:
- In a recent situation, what would you have handled differently? Why?
- Tell me an area of your work you want to improve.
- What aspect of your work would you like more help?
- How could I help you to be more productive?
- What do you think about my management style? Anything you dislike?
- As a manager, what I should keep doing?
Being a good team leader through hard times
Effective communication becomes critical during difficult times, so one on one meetings need to be more often than usual. It helps to clarify questions, issues, concerns and misconceptions of your team to be on the same page and solidify their trust.
Start asking questions like:
- How are you feeling during this crisis?
- What questions do you have right now?
- How do you think your work helps our team and company?
- What can we do to make progress on what we talked today?
Working with remote employees
Managing remote employees is extremely difficult, because you need to keep communication clear and healthy at all cost. It is difficult to read the non-verbal signals in a chat or an email, so misunderstandings can arise more easily.
In that matter, one on one meetings offer a way to build the rapport needed to work remotely with them and to identify potential issues. Use these questions as a starting point:
- What drives you? Why do you prefer to work remotely?
- How long have you been working from home?
- Is there anything you feel you need to work remotely?
- How well do you know your coworkers?
Managing career development
Career growth is a very important aspect that every employee looks forward to. One on one meetings are the ideal place to talk about it in order to establish goals and a roadmap to career development.
These questions are perfect to start:
- What are you doing here that is most in line with your goals?
- What do you want to be doing in the near future?
- What are your long term goals?
- Do you feel challenged in your current job?
- What skills would you like to develop?
Finding ways to improve
I am sure that your employees have some suggestions on how to improve the team or company they work in. So the one on one meeting is the perfect time to hear what they have to say about this. They often have nice insights that can save you time and money, improving things from the inside.
So you need to take the time to ask, because you employees are closer to problems and have morechances to improve them than you. You can break the ice with these questions:
- Whatare we not doing that we should do better?
- If you were CEO, what would you change?
- Which company values do you like the most? Why?
- What is our main problem as a company?
- How do you feel like relates to your coworkers?
- Do you feel that you have the right workload?
- Is everyone doing their part on the team?
- What do you like most about our team?
Taking advantages of the common ground
Remember, it’s not enough just to be a manager. You need to be a great leader to your team or company, and it’s not just what’s needed: it’s essentially what your employees want.
It doesn’t matter the size of your organization, if you are not able to reach and listen to each member of your team, you will never be the best leader. The best way to do that is the one on one meeting: dig into various subjects, offer advice, clarify doubts, listen and lead your employees in a private setting.
But always be prepared with the right questions: you will gather the information you need to lead and understand each team member in a way that works best for the company.