Tomorrow is Monday, the first day of the work week. So I thought today would be a great time to write about and share some tips on one-on-ones from The Hard Thing About Hard Things.
What I’ve learned is that there are two kind of people. Those who have experienced great one-on-ones and know their benefit, and then there’s those who have terrible one-on-ones and wonder why they’re so important.
One-on-ones are the perfect way to communicate sensitive issues, half baked ideas, worries, concerns, personal meltdowns, clarification, and so much more.
As an employee, it’s important to remember it’s your meeting. You should use this time to your best advantage. If you feel like you’re not, then you should think about it. Writing out an agenda of items you want to discuss beforehand can really help.
As a manager, it’s important to remember it’s the employee’s meeting. This is when you should be doing a lot of the listening and the employee is doing a lot of the talking. After all, the employee is telling you how you can do your job - you should listen up.
If the employee has a hard time opening up you can’t just put your arms up and say, “Well I tried!” You have to work with the employee to make them feel comfortable and tease information out of them.
Ben Horowitz, in his new book shared some questions he found are effective during one-on-ones, and I thought I’d share a few:
- What’s the number one problem with our organization? Why?
- What’s not fun about working here?
- What are we doing that we should be doing?
- Who is kicking ass at the company? Who do you admire.
Regardless of how great of a culture you think you work in or however close you are with your manager (or partners), I can promise you that the one-on-one is never a waste of time. In fact, it can be the most important and valuable method of communication.