How to run one-to-one meetings

As a manager, you need to meet in-person or via video-conference with your team members on a regular basis. Some organisations have clear rules on cadence and format, others have recommendations while some give total freedom to managers.

At Popwork, we believe in the importance of management rituals and think companies with weekly or bi-weekly one-to-one meetings (1:1s) are best set up for success.

Set up your one-to-one ritual πŸ—Ώ

The first step in creating an effective ritual is to set up a recurring format :

  • Choose a cadence - every week or two - and stick to it
  • Choose a consistent time - 30, 45 or 60 minutes
  • Hold the 1:1 away from the desk - in a meeting room or head outside for a walk

Determine the agenda of the meeting πŸ—“οΈ

Preparing a relevant agenda can sometimes be a challenge. We recommend following a simple structure such as the following :

  • Mood and conversation starters : How was your week ? How are things ? What have you been up to ? How can I help you ?
  • Achievements and reasons to be proud
  • Objectives & priorities update
  • Challenges and roadblocks
  • Next steps

Using a tool such as Popwork which includes a check-in feature makes preparation for 1-to-1 meetings easy and intuitive.

Meet for the one-to-one πŸ§‘β€πŸ€β€πŸ§‘

One-to-one meetings are an important moment for team members and managers as it is their opportunity to step back and discuss important matters together. Therefore, we encourage you to :

  • Be on time and give the meeting your full attention
  • Stick to the agenda and to the defined timing - as much as possible
  • Ask for feedback
  • Coach when necessary
  • Review action items and topics for discussion for the next 1:1
  • Ask β€œWhat else?” - you’ll be surprised what you can learn with this last open question

Whether you use a tool such as Popwork or not, your attitude will always be the most important aspect of every 1:1. If your team members feel that these meetings are key for you and a great tool to remove roadblocks, receive feedback and help get things done, these 1:1 meetings will transform the way your team works.

Determine next steps and follow up ✍️

‍One essential piece of 1:1 meetings is often overlooked : next steps and follow-up. If there are no next steps as an outcome of the meeting and if these next steps are not followed up on then the 1:1 meeting was nothing more than a light conversation.

When wrapping up the 1:1, don’t forget to confirm actions, topics to discuss further and agreements. A good way to do so is to create a shared note with actions owned either by the reportee or the manager. As a manager, don’t hesitate to own action items as well to help remove hurdles for your team members

Finally, during your next one-to-one, start by taking a minute or two to review previous action items or topics for discussion to make sure everything has been done or covered.

Wrap-up : One-to-one meetings are a very powerful management ritual when done right. With the right preparation, the right attitude and a thorough follow up, it will become one of the most useful tools for a manager.

To find out how to make 1-to-1 meetings easy and efficient for your team with Popwork, click here.