When a team member receives a one-on-one meeting invite, they might be quick to assume a discussion involving goals and feedback will take place. Not a bad assumption! But while this type of meeting does happen often, there are many other types of one-on-ones you should hold throughout the year. Read on to learn more about the different types of one-on-ones you should add to your calendar.
What is a one-on-one meeting?
One-on-one meetings are regular, recurring meetings between managers and employees. These meetings can fill the manager in on team issues, roadblocks, and current activities. A one-on-one meeting is also a great time for team members to ask questions and get both positive and constructive feedback.
Melissa Hui, founder of Context Leap, says scheduling regular one-on-ones shows that you’re committed to your team and organization. “Managers have a responsibility to set and keep 1:1s. The biggest benefit is the establishment of rhythm towards rapport and trust-building,” she says. “Great relationships don’t happen overnight. When you keep 1:1s, you signal that you’re committed to growing each other.”
Run delightful 1:1 meetings
A well-run meeting can foster communication and collaboration by including an agenda that everyone can contribute to. Try using a tool like Fellow!
6 types of one-on-ones
Below are some one-on-ones you can hold to help your team do great things.
1Manager and direct report
A manager and direct report meeting is a weekly meeting between a manager and their direct report. Simple enough, right? These meetings can help managers set expectations and career goals, and better connect on a personal level with their teams. They can do exactly the same for the direct report, who should really take ownership of this type of one-on-one. A one-on-one meeting where the direct report creates the meeting agenda is also a great way to start building trust if you’re a new manager.
A direct report meeting agenda template will go over personal check-ins, the direct report’s notes, the manager’s notes, priorities for the week, and so on. Below are some example questions a direct report and manager may ask during the meeting.
- How am I performing?
- What are some things I can work on to improve my skills?
- Are there any current challenges you’re facing? How can I help you overcome them?
- Two weeks from now, we’re hosting one of our biggest events yet. What can we do to make it a successful one?
Since a manager’s time is pretty limited, here are some practices you can keep in mind as you host these meetings.
- Be consistent. Ideally, your meetings should be the same time and day each week (or however often you host a one-on-one). This way, your team members know to prepare around the same time each week. That means they’ll show up ready to be active and engaged (and excited!) in the meeting.
- Think high safety, low effort, high benefit. High safety means that your direct report should feel safe bringing up anything they want to discuss. Low effort refers to the amount of work you should have to put in to get and give feedback – it should be easy peasy. High benefit is how you act after your meetings: Can your team trust you to act on feedback and lead the organization?
- Remember who runs the meeting. Although you’re the manager, it’s important to remember that this isn’t your meeting. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Direct reports should take ownership of this type of one-on-one. Make this ultra clear to your team members so they know they should prepare in advance.
Try this free meeting agenda template for your next meeting with your manager and direct report:
A skip-level meeting is a one-on-one between the direct report and their manager’s manager. So, if you’re their manager, you won’t be there, but your manager will. This meeting helps senior leadership learn more about a team’s culture, connect with everyone, and learn how to better support you and other managers. These meetings are also great for turning up any poor communication between managers and team members.
The talking points for a skip-level one-on-one include job satisfaction, accomplishments, feedback, and action items. Some common questions senior leadership might ask during this type of meeting include:
- Are you content in your role? What can I do to make it better for you?
- What are some things your manager can work on? What are they doing well?
- What can we do to boost employee engagement and satisfaction?
- What goals are you hoping to achieve within the next six months? 12 months?
Try this free skip-level meeting agenda template:
Peer one-on-ones allow team members to connect with each other. They unite people who are going through similar challenges. These meetings are great because team members can come together to share ideas, get new perspectives, and tackle issues together.
These meetings also allow team members to better understand their teammates. Plus, in this smaller type of team meeting, there’s typically less finger-pointing about why a project is delayed or what went wrong. Instead, team members will get to know each other’s limitations and roadblocks – and problem-solve them together.
Here are a few example questions you might want to add to your peer meeting agenda.
- What is the biggest challenge your (or “our,” if you’re on the same team) team is facing?
- How can my team help yours currently, or within the next few weeks?
- Are there any updates or projects coming up that I should be aware of?
- How can I make your job easier?
Try this free peer meeting agenda template:
After building trust with your team, you should hold some one-on-ones to give and get feedback to and from your team members. This peer feedback can help you see what you’re doing right and where you need to improve. Asking for feedback can also help you build more trust, which is always the mark of a great team.
Below are some questions you may want to ask during your feedback session.
- What feedback do you have for me?
- How can I support you more?
- Is there something you liked that your former manager did that you’d like me to do?
- How am I doing in giving you direction? Would you like more or less from me?
Here are some questions a team member may want to ask you during a feedback meeting.
- What feedback do you have for me?
- What are some steps I can take to improve my performance?
- What would you like to see more of from me?
Try this free feedback meeting agenda template:
Goals meetings are a great way to learn about your team members’ long-term professional development goals within your organization. These one-on-ones can be a bit less frequent, maybe not weekly or bi-weekly. Instead, they can be recurring meetings every six months to a year. You should use these meetings to align your organization’s goals with your team members’ personal goals.
Here are some example questions you can ask during a goals meeting.
- Where do you see yourself five years from now? 10 years from now?
- Is your current role helping you reach your long-term goals? If not, how can I help change that?
- What are some new skills you’d like to learn at work?
- Are you thinking about any additional training or education?
- How can we help with your career development?
Try this free goals meeting agenda template:
After onboarding, how often do team members learn about your organization’s procedures and goals? Maybe not all that often – and you can change that with organization one-on-ones. After all, your team members might not see your organization through the same eyes as you. This makes organization meetings important for sharing your organization’s goals and mission and vision statements.
Below are some questions you might ask during an organization meeting.
- What part of our organization would you like to learn more about?
- How well do you know our history? What would you like to learn about it?
- How well do you know our organization’s priorities and how it impacts what we do?
Prepare for your one-on-one meetings with Fellow
Taking the time – even if it’s just 30 minutes – to host regular one-on-ones with your team members can lead to a stronger team and organization. To prepare for your recurring one-on-ones, you’ll need a platform where you can collaborate on meeting agendas and take meeting notes. With Fellow, you can do all that and organize your ideas, give and get feedback, and so much more. Effective one-on-ones have never been this easy.