Tips for Effective 1-1’s

I’ve been really digging the information that Lighthouse has been putting out on their blog and the discussions they’ve started on their Twitter account. Recently, they posted this piece on having effective 1-1 meetings with your manager.

Regular 1-1’s are incredibly important, but far too often, I think they’re scheduled out of necessity (“I guess we have to do it”). Instead, they should be something you look forward to in your week, a discussion about career goals, team dynamics, and big picture items.

Regardless of whether you lead a team, I would recommend giving this a read and implementing the various points. One thing I’ve recently tried to implement—avoiding status updates:

When a manager or team member says they don’t see the value of 1 on 1 meetings, it’s a virtual certainty they spend most of the meeting talking about projects and status updates. That’s a huge waste.

Hungry for more? Here’s how I run 1-1’s.

2 thoughts on “Tips for Effective 1-1’s

  1. Glad to hear we’ve been helpful, Jeremey! We appreciate the vote of support 🙂

    How has non-status update one on ones impacted your team? What can a manager that makes these changes expect as the benefit to them and their team?

    1. First, a confession: We haven’t completely eliminated them from 1-1s, but it’s a work in progress!

      I think the real benefit is deeper conversation. It can feel productive to cover items in 1-1s that could be covered in a bulleted list through Slack. The more productive conversations can’t be bulleted though. How is this person feeling right now? Are they being challenged? What are their thoughts on XYZ discussion? How did ABC make them feel? Those kinds of questions do more to really understand the team member and get to the core of how they’re feeling at work. Ultimately, I think this all rolls up into deeper feelings of trust (i.e. “My lead is invested in me as an individual—what I hope to accomplish, what challenges me, etc”)

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