Here is something I posted in an internal blog at work.
Good one-on-one meetings tend to take the form of a conversation that goes both ways, where both people in the room want to get clarity, identify friction and opportunities and get and deliver feedback.
It is easy to drift into a dynamic where the conversation becomes a progress report. There are better ways to communicate progress though.
For everyone who feels they don’t get the guidance, clarity or feedback needed out of their one-on-ones, here are a few questions that can help redirect the focus.
The list is far from exhaustive, and the questions are offered as
Asking for guidance on tasks and projects
- I am having some challenges with X. Can you help me think about how to navigate those challenges?
- What do you think of my idea Y? Do you have any suggestions to improve it?
- I am completely blocked because of Z. Can you help me figure out how to remove the blocker or a way around it?
- I have a lot on my plate, what should I be prioritizing right now and why?
- Am I working on the most impactful thing?
- How do you visualize the success of our team?
Finding growth opportunities
- I would love to work on X. How can I prepare myself for that?
- What opportunities do you see for me?
- What is preventing me from reaching the next level?
- What is the one thing I should do more of?
- What should I stop doing?
- I have a technical proposal for a significant architectural change. Would you be open to reviewing it?
It is also okay to acknowledge that, some days, the most impactful use of the on-on-one might be just spending one hour shooting the shit and telling bad jokes. But on the days when one feels all strategic and deliberate, the above questions might be a good wa to start.
Other folks have also touched on the topic, so for those looking to get extra credit, here are some further readings: