How to run 1-on-1 meetings

What is 1-on-1 meeting?

The 1-on-1 meeting is a meeting between a manager and their direct report. The 1-on-1 meeting is an essential practice for managers. The main idea of the meeting is to provide feedback, focus and listen. These meetings help build a personal relationship.

The 1-on-1 meeting should have a regular schedule, for example, every week or once a month. Meetings taking place less often than once a month are not considered as 1-on-1 meetings.

The ideal 1-on-1 meeting has got preparation and follow-up phases. After the meeting, both sides should have aligned expectations.


During preparation find impact, achievements and facts about your team member. A couple of times a year talk to peers to gather this information.

You should also clearly understand the goals of the upcoming meeting. Are you going to have a regular check-up or you need to fix some conflicts and provide guidance? The 1-on-1 meetings are a good place to share information regarding team or company changes.

Some questions to include in your agenda:
- What would you like to discuss today?
- How can I help you?
- How can I help you to grow professionally?
- Are you happy? What makes you happy at work?
- What good\bad has happened since our last meeting?
- What do you like about your current work?
- What do we do wrong as a company in your opinion?
- What do we need to do as a company to be extremely successful?
- Did I ask all the questions?

The meeting

Listen, listen and listen once again. This meeting is for your team member, it's not for you. You should focus on the problems of your interlocutor. Do whatever it takes to provide trust between the two of you.

Don't seat behind a laptop, take a piece of paper and pen. When you are making notes people usually think you are listening to them.

Don't promise what you can't do. It's wise to say that you need a bit of time to think about what is the best way of action in this situation.


After the meeting

It's a good practice to have a shared document or Trello board where you can store action points for the next meeting. People like to see commitments to their problems from managers, so treat requests of your teammates as your own.


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