Instead of structuring your one-on-one meeting based on topics, you can focus on past wins and challenges, present priorities, and future opportunities.
Let’s call this the chronological one-on-one meeting format.
1 Wins and challenges
Kelly Riggs, a leadership coach and author of the book 1-on-1 Management, argues that you should always start your one-on-one by asking direct reports about their most recent challenges.
“My one-on-one meetings for 30 years have started with one very simple phrase: Tell me about last week. I know it sounds ridiculously simplistic on the surface, but trust me, there is a lot behind the curtain,” says Riggs.
Another great way to start the meeting is by asking your employees about something they mentioned in your previous one-on-one. For instance, if they said that they were frustrated about something, make sure to bring it up again and ask them if there’s any progress with that.
This will show your reports that you take these conversations seriously, are actively listening, and want to help them as much as you can.
After addressing what happened in the previous week, you can move on to the present one. Your agenda can include questions like:
- What projects and goals are you currently working on?
- Is there anything I can do this week to help you achieve that?
Looking for more inspiration? Here’s a list of 200 one-on-one meeting questions! ✨
Last but not least, talk about the future, the goals and things that your direct report might be feeling anxious about or looking forward to. Some questions you can ask include:
- What’s on your to-do list this coming week?
- What areas of development are you planning to work on?
- What resources can I provide for you between now and the next time we meet?
There you have it! This simple one-on-one meeting template will allow you to focus on past challenges, present priorities and future opportunities.
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This one-on-one meeting template was originally published in The Art of the One-on-One Meeting: The definitive guide to the most misunderstood and yet powerful tool for managers.