1:1 Meetings: Not just operational
When using Small Improvements for your regular 1:1 meetings, our hope is that the functionality streamlines your ability to formulate a game plan for regular check-ins.
Capturing important touch points in the shared talking points and meeting notes can also be a powerful resource when it comes performance review time. We highly recommend looking back on your running log of meetings as a another resource available to deepen your perspective on your team's growth.
There is, however, one potential drawback a tool like ours carries though, and we feel it is really important to always be aware of it:
The structure of our 1:1 meeting hub implicitly suggests the meetings are operational.
When in fact, 1:1s should always incorporate feedback, maybe some venting, and occasionally even non-work conversations.
Below, we go into a little more detail.
Outside of Operational
As mentioned above, the clickable talking points suggest a tactical approach. It can be therefore tempting to focus solely on a list of todos that must be checked through week over week. But we recommend always leaving space for the personal:
- How is your report feeling in their role? How are you supporting their long term career goals?
- What does my manager see as a priority for our team broadly speaking? Can I just have some time to vent frustrations?
- How was that vacation? I love Paris too! Did you check out Montmartre? (Seriously. Remember, we're people! We spend a lot of time with each other at work. Having conversations about non-work stuff can be just as important when nurturing a successful collaborative relationship, as getting tasks done.)
All of the above are just a few examples of other areas of focus you can frequently incorporate in your 1:1s.
Breaking through the check-marks
So how can you use our tool but find ways to weave in non-operational discussions? Below are a few ideas you could try, please let us know if you are using other techniques! We'd love to share them.
A standing, general talking point
Consider having your first talking point consistently be something general and inviting.
"How is it going?" or even "General chat" - Are good examples to keep the meeting loose and open for a basic update.
For Managers specifically- Since directly acknowledging frustrations might not be the most positive spark to a check-in, consider setting yourself a reminder as a private talking point.
And of course: Blowing off steam is a normal part of every hard working team member's experience.. But if you as a manager find recurring themes when frustrations are expressed, you should probably be doing something about it.
Consider keeping a running list of gripes within the private notes. Since you can look back through all the threaded notes- When you notice patterns, use that as an opportunity to take action.
Fun. It's allowed.
One of my reports and I have developed a mosaic of in-jokes. Mostly around memes and Slack emojies we use as shorthand.
For fun, she will occasionally post her first talking point as a highlight of what Chuck Norris is capable of, as it relates to this meme.
It breaks the ice, we have a laugh, and then on to plans for the following week.
We highly recommend having the last talking point a manager creates, always be: "Feedback for me". Or something to that effect.
People perhaps might be shy or cautious about being entirely candid with you.. But keep asking. Create a trusting environment for your team to communicate with you, and all will benefit.
You will only grow as a leader of people if you listen to your team. Always keep the door open for feedback, it is crucial for you and your team's success.