Gallup examined 10 million employee and manager interviews spanning 114 countries. Weaving insight from this study with new discoveries in the fields of neuroscience, psychology, sociology, game theory, and economics, 12: The Elements of Great Managing highlights how strong managers nurture the social contract between employer and employee. In fact, these results show front-line managers matter more than senior leaders in the work life of employees. I would argue this is due to the fact that great managers enable conversations with team members in one-to-one meetings. From my perspective as a coach, the most successful business people make one-to-ones a consistent practice. If you are not having these sorts of regular meetings with your employees, start!
With that said, it’s useful to understand what sorts of questions to ask and how to pattern meaningful dialogue when conducting such meetings. Below you’ll find some of the questions I regularly use to facilitate SoulSalt, Inc., one-to-ones and below that an easy downloadable handout of such:
- Where, in your opinion, is the company going?
- With this awareness, where are you going?
- What’s in your way?
- How can I support you?
- How would you describe what is expected of you here at work?
- How would you describe your access to the materials and knowledge needed to complete your work?
- Where are you able to do your best work and make use of your strengths?
- In light of this discussion, what adjustments do you suggest we make?
- What part of our company purpose and mission do you particularly feel connected to?
- What are we doing that helps you sustain commitment to our purpose?
- What adjustments could you and I make to enhance this commitment?
- Since we last met, what part of your work are you most proud of?
- How do you see yourself progressing within our company?
- How can I be a support for this to happen?
- What opportunities here at work are supporting you to learn and grow?
- What other sorts of opportunities can you see yourself taking advantage of while you work for us?
- Now that we’ve discussed this topic, what happens next?
Finally, let me state that I see team meetings and one-to-ones as some of the most important tasks I accomplish to influence company culture and focus. Here are a few tips on how to sustain them as a priority:
- Schedule these meetings out an entire year in advance so they rotate through your calendar just like any other important, reoccurring event.
- Don’t cancel! Hold yourself to your schedule.
- Treat these meetings like the most important part of your work (because they are).
- Shut off cell phones, close your door and focus solely on the person in front of you.
- Keep the dialogue personable and interactive.
- Don’t make one-to-one meetings all about the delegation of tasks.
- Ask for feedback and remain open.