October 11: A guide to great 1:1s
1:1s are a vital component of any successful employee-manager relationship. Here's three tips on how to have a successful 1:1.
Source: Jessica Powell
Published: August 2020
A guide to great 1:1s
1:1s are a vital component of any successful employee-manager relationship. But too often, they aren't well thought out. Startup founder and former Google VP Jessica Powell believes that:
A 1:1 is for the employee, not the manager. Managers should be listening to the needs of their employees.
Every 1:1 needs an agenda. Managers should fill out the agenda—and send the employee a copy—before the meeting takes place. Agendas typically include updates to goals and sentiment about how the employee is feeling.
Balance your short-term and long-term goals. Avoid losing sight of longer-term goals by over-prioritizing short-term issues. Consider setting dedicated sessions once a quarter for a career development discussion.
I disagree with Ms. Powell. 1:1s are a two way street. If I, as manager, wish to vet thoughts on an employee's career path with them, then I, as manager have an agenda to share with the employee. True, managers need to listen attentively and 1:1's are a great opportunity to practice that skill in a private setting with an employee, but managers should also see 1:1s as an opportunity to introduce the employee to new information and should plan for that in 1:1s. And if point #1 is that managers should be listening to the needs of employees... it's not clear why or how a manager could fill out the agenda for the 1:1 other than to schedule something like "open mic to share your thoughts". I find that 1:1s work best if both parties feel empowered to contribute to the agenda, the conversation and the outcomes.
+1 to "Balance your short-term and long-term goals" but once per quarter (four times per year) is not enough time to invest in your directs career development. If an employee is raising the bar and showing a high degree of ownership for their individual business. I suggest alternating one on ones each week between business review and career development discussions.