How to hold great 1:1 meetings as a New People Lead

Prior to meeting

  • Make sure a time to meet is agreed and understood. Start with 30 mins.
  • Have a rolling agenda and stick to a consistent schedule and set of talking points. Consider a regular ops 1:1 and a separate focused career development 1:1.
  • Ensure there’s an opportunity for you both to share, collaborate and comment ahead of meeting.
  • Take the time to prepare. There’s nothing worse than showing up unprepared.
  • Never cancel or re-schedule at the last minute. It is a big no-no! Show them you regard this time as important.

During the meeting

  • Always take a few minutes to get a sense of how things are going. Ask about their general day to day and also don’t be afraid to ask about how things are outside of work.
  • Allow them to take the lead. Remember, the talking points are there as a guide. If something urgent needs to be discussed, take the time to do so.
  • If a concern or difficulty is raised, ask for context. Ask them to give an example, to outline the impact and encourage them to look for possible solutions to the problem at hand.
  • When discussing progress on goals, always link their contribution back to the wider company mission and recognise wins. Show how their progress is directly impacting the companies.
  • Regardless of how the tone of a particular 1:1 goes, always look to finish on a positive.
  • Always summarise items discussed, take private notes and create action items for follow-up.

Post meeting

A big part of good meetings is how you follow-up.

  • Always document a summary of the points discussed and share with your team member. Do so promptly and not weeks after the discussion.
  • Where you have actions, clearly outline what they can expect from you and by when.
  • Remember that the work you do post 1:1 is equally, if not more important.

All the research suggests frequency of 1:1 meetings play a significant role in engaging your people, especially working remotely.

Over to you.

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Noel Dykes

Noel Dykes

Passionate about the intersections of great design, people and business. Founder @