Ever felt disconnected from your team, manager or direct reports?
Maintain great work relationships with 1-on-1 meetings!
The classic 1-on-1 is between managers and direct reports. Also skip-level meetings can fit into this category. Why not kick-off things with your peers in your own or in another team within your company, or even with partner companies?
What is the purpose of a 1-on-1 meeting?
A 1-on-1 is a mix between a formal and informal meeting with the purpose to strengthen the relationship between two people, and to continuously update on goal progress and current priorities on both sides.
Here are five tips for 1-on-1s from me, for any maker and manager wanting to improve work relationships.
#1: Have a plan
No one has time to waste at work. Not with busy projects, client expectations, work colleagues who need help, and everyone trying to reach important OKRs.
However, as social beings in any professional context, we need to actively foster our relationships with our direct reports and with our manager.
1-on-1's are a great hotspot between an informal coffee meeting and a goal review meeting. And they are directional. Both manager and maker share their goals and priorities.
Even a bi-weekly 30 minutes check in can greatly help to stay aligned and keep up to date with important things happening in our work friend's life.
For effective and productive one on one meetings, managers need an agenda and template, aiming to cover the following at a minimum:
- Meeting goal
- Agenda items and questions, which need preparation
- For 1-on-1s, make sure both sides understand the purpose of this format.
As engineers, and makers, it's even more important to have long periods of focus time available. Scheduled meetings can really be toxic. Both managers and makers need to be aware of this.
#2: Use a template
With the new Meetical template for 1-on-1s, on the Atlassian Confluence template library, tech company managers can simplify meetings and note taking, giving you more time to focus on working relationships.
New to Confluence and Meeting Notes? Check our Ultimate Guide to Confluence Meeting Notes to get started.
Kick off your 1-on-1 with an informal question such as "How are things outside of work?". But make sure you talk about work related interests, motivation, side-projects and current mid and long term goals. Both manager and direct report should share important events from their work lives.
Need some inspiration? Here's our native Meetical template for 1-on-1s, especially good when you are starting out with 1-on-1s.
And now, let's talk about automation, especially important for tech teams.
Take all of this one step further! Integrate Confluence with your Calendar, by using the Meetical Meetings App.
Create a pre-populated meeting in seconds, directly from Google Calendar, or Outlook Calendar. Using the automation feature you can create pages for 1-on-1's, and recurring meetings, automatically, just in time or up to one month in advance.
#3: Meet even if everything is going well
Don’t fall into the negative habit of thinking, “Ah well, there’s no point meeting this week/month, things are going well.” You could soon find that an employee who was on-track loses direction, or a problem comes up that you weren't aware of because you haven't been honouring your scheduled one on one meetings.
Stick to the habit of one on one meetings with everyone, whether things are going well, or not. It’s even better to meet when work is going well, because you can more accurately assess how to keep everything moving in that direction, and maintain positive working relationships.
#4: Have a structure
Meetings need a clear structure, to ensure they are useful and effective for both parties. Whenever possible, stick to the same format for every one on one meeting, to keep them consistent.
It’s helpful to start with open-ended questions, giving team members a chance to talk about what’s on their mind the most. Then get into specifics. Follow-up on what happened in the previous meeting, as a chance for both of you to check actions have been taken.
Some inspiration from our original 1-on-1 meeting template.
#5: Be consistent
Always aim to set aside the same amount of time, and cover roughly the same framework of points. Stick to the Timebox for meetings, whenever possible. And make sure that engineers have entire days available without any meetings.
Make it a ritual!
Make sure you check-in regularly and follow-up from the previous meeting. Have a constant iterative feedback loop in-place. With the process from one meeting to the next running smoothly, working relationships will be strengthened.
Make sure you review action items and keep asking yourself: does this meeting have a good return on time invested (ROTI)?
1-on-1 meetings should be productive and effective for both parties. Whether problems need solving, feedback needs to be given, or it’s simply a chance for improving working relationships.
Use a clear structure, templates and meeting management apps such as Meetical for Confluence.
This way, workplace cultures can become more cooperative, everyone works better, and one on one meetings aren't something people dread anymore.
Thanks for reading, stay meetical!