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1:1 Meetings: Not just operational

When using Small Improvements for your regular 1:1 meetings, our hope is that the functionality streamlines your ability to formulate a game plan for regular check-ins. 

Capturing important touch points in the shared talking points and meeting notes can also be a powerful resource when it comes performance review time. We highly recommend looking back on your running log of meetings as a another resource available to deepen your perspective on your team’s growth.

There is, however, one potential drawback a tool like ours carries though, and we feel it is really important to always be aware of it: 

The structure of our 1:1 meeting hub implicitly suggests the meetings are operational. 

When in fact, 1:1s should always incorporate feedback, maybe some venting, and occasionally even non-work conversations. 

Below, we go into a little more detail. 

Outside of Operational

As mentioned above, the clickable talking points suggest a tactical approach. It can be therefore tempting to focus solely on a list of todos that must be checked through week over week. But we recommend always leaving space for the personal:

  • How is your report feeling in their role? How are you supporting their long term career goals? 
  • What does my manager see as a priority for our team broadly speaking? Can I just have some time to vent frustrations? 
  • How was that vacation? I love Paris too! Did you check out Montmartre? (Seriously. Remember, we’re people! We spend a lot of time with each other at work. Having conversations about non-work stuff can be just as important when nurturing a successful collaborative relationship, as getting tasks done.)

All of the above are just a few examples of other areas of focus you can frequently incorporate in your 1:1s.

Breaking through the check-marks

So how can you use our tool but find ways to weave in non-operational discussions? Below are a few ideas you could try, please let us know if you are using other techniques! We’d love to share them.

A standing, general talking point

Consider having your first talking point consistently be something general and inviting.

“How is it going?” or even “General chat” – Are good examples to keep the meeting loose and open for a basic update. 

Pressure valve

For Managers specifically- Since directly acknowledging frustrations might not be the most positive spark to a check-in, consider setting yourself a reminder as a private talking point. 

And of course: Blowing off steam is a normal part of every hard-working team member’s experience.. But if you as a manager find recurring themes when frustrations are expressed, you should probably be doing something about it.

Consider keeping a running list of gripes within the private notes. Since you can look back through all the threaded notes- When you notice patterns, use that as an opportunity to take action. 

Fun. It’s allowed.

One of my reports and I have developed a mosaic of in-jokes. Mostly around memes and Slack emojis we use as shorthand. 

For fun, she will occasionally post her first talking point as a highlight of what Chuck Norris is capable of, as it relates to this meme

It breaks the ice, we have a laugh, and then on to plans for the following week.

Got feedback?

We highly recommend having the last talking point a manager creates, always be: “Feedback for me”. Or something to that effect.

People perhaps might be shy or cautious about being entirely candid with you.. But keep asking. Create a trusting environment for your team to communicate with you, and all will benefit.

You will only grow as a leader of people if you listen to your team. Always keep the door open for feedback, it is crucial for you and your team’s success.

Updated on November 1, 2021

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