Your 1-1 Meeting Is A Waste of Time…Unless…

This article about the 1-1 meeting is from Issue #3 of The Water Cooler newsletter designed to help you improve team communication & morale in less than 2 minutes. Click here to make sure you get this in your inbox every Monday.

The Problem with the 1-1 Meeting

As a manager we know we’re supposed to have regular 1-1 meetings with our team. 

The problem is, these tend to just turn into a long session of “How ya doing?” with little to no actionable steps outside of project updates. 

1-1 meetings are great and essential!

BUT most of the time they’re done to simply check a management box (ask us how we know…)

The difference between a meh 1-1 meeting and a GREAT 1-1 meeting comes down to one thing:


The Solution

Here’s a simple exercise you can add to to your meetings to make them actually worth doing.

Before your next weekly/bi-weekly/monthly 1-1 meeting, rate & record your team members on a scale of 1-5:

  1. How was their attitude?
  2. How was their effort?
  3. What was their overall effectiveness?
  4. How was their mood?
  5. What is their confidence level?
  6. What was their overall stress level?

Next, at the start of the meeting ask and record the same questions to your team members.

Now you have some data points to work with!

Here are some things to look for to spark more useful conversations with your team:

  • Are your ratings and their ratings drastically different? 
    Try to find out why!
  • Was there a big change for better or for worse between the last two sessions? 
    Try to find out why!
  • Did nothing change and things are relatively the same?
    Try to find out why!

For example, say last week your 3 person team responded this way to the 6 questions:

And this week they responded this way:

You definitely want to start asking WHAT changed that made them feel less stressed & more effective! 

Oh – and one last bit of advice here.

This ONLY works if you commit to doing this consistently!
If you commit to doing this for each 1-1 you’re going to have better communication, happier employees, and a team with an output that’s second-to-none.

Happy managing!

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