I promised more detail about One-on-Ones. Over time, I’m planning to cover each item on my One-on-One agenda. As a refresher, here is my agenda for a half-hour One-on-One meeting:
- How are things going personally?
- How are things going at work?
- Action Item Report: Manager
- Action Item Report: Report
- Feedback (+ and/or -)
- Annual Review Goals
- Personalized News (down-flow)
- Anything Else?
- Action Items for Next Time
Let’s have a look at the first item: How are things going personally?
You manage people, not ‘resources’. Make a point of knowing the names of spouses, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, pets, or whom-ever is important in their lives. Do they have hobbies? Are they involved in charity work? Do they follow baseball? Badminton? Be ready to share this type of information about yourself as well.
If you haven’t had these types of conversations before, you can initiate one something like this:
“Bob, I realized that we don’t know much about each other, apart from work, and I’d like to change that. I would like you know more about who I am, and I’m interested to know more about you.
My wife, Sue, and I have two kids. Jimmy is 14 and Tammy is 12. They both play basketball, and their pretty good too! Last year, Jimmy’s team went to State, and had a real shot at the title.
If you don’t mind sharing, I’d like to know a bit about your life outside of the office.”
Most people will be thrilled that you are interested. If you happen to have a direct report who really wants to keep their personal life private, respect their wishes, of course. If you find that several of your reports are resistant, this may be an indicator of deeper trouble in your relationships with them.
Over time, you may want to ask questions like:
- Where did you grow up?
- Where did you go to college?
- What are your plans for the weekend?
- How was your weekend?
- How is your son Bobby doing in school?
- Do you follow any sports?
- Are you involved in any organizations?
You get bonus points if you ask follow-up questions about things that came up last time:
- How did Bobby do in the spelling bee?
- Is your mother feeling any better?
- Did the dealership ever figure out what was wrong with your car?
- How did Fluffy do at doggy day-care?
- Did Brenda get the job?
Take it slow. Be genuine.
Have some insights or experiences to share? Leave a comment!