Eight questions to talk about in a 1:1 meeting
How you can create 1:1 check-ins with your team member or manager that are productive and meaningful.
Before we start, it’s important to note that this structure can be applied by all attendees — it’s not up to one side only to organise and shape these periodical sessions.
If you’re currently not having 1:1s with your manager, organise one! Put in a 15–25 minute meeting every one or two weeks where you both meet. You can use the following questions as a starting point — rewrite as needed.
1. How are you?
It’s important to start with the person behind the job. Ask if they are ok and if they need help right now. We conduct almost all meetings over Zoom now and it’s often very hard to see how a person is feeling in just 25 minutes of screen time. This first part is also a great ice-breaker into the more corporate part of the 1:1.
2. What was your biggest win?
Wins are great — they push us forward. Celebrating them — even in a small circle is important. We’re not talking about “I signed a $500,000 contract with company X” here (although good on you if that’s the case). A win can be a great workshop you moderated, a coffee you had with a colleague or a breakthrough on how to solve a specific problem. A win is a win, no matter how small.
3. What was your biggest frustration?
Celebrations are done, let’s talk about the ugly bits, the things that bother us, that drag us down. Try to find out why it’s frustrating and also if the issue is under control (e.g. “Slack was down but now it’s okay”), or if you can step in to help (or escalate if needed).
4. What are your top areas of focus right now?
Obviously you both should know what everyone is working on. But within each project or initiative, there are ups and downs, and focus might change. Talk about if the project is still on track and goes as planned. If it’s running smoothly, no need to offer help.