One-on-Ones - Your Data Collection Pipeline With Your Team Members
One-on-one meetings are the foundational tool for managing individuals. And it couldn’t be simpler; they are:
Regular weekly meetings with you and each team member,
Which are basically never cancelled,
Where the team member’s questions, issues, and thoughts take priority, and come first in the agenda,
So that the team member knows they are important enough to have 30 minutes of your attention every week.
Everything else is implementation details.
Once you start the practice of regular one-on-ones, you’ll find yourself:
Better able to grow and retain each team member,
Getting real insight into potential issues before they arise,
Interrupted less, since people know they can just bring questions and issues,
Less stressed, since you have better visibility into what is actually happening, and
Better understanding what the job of being a manager is all about
There’s lots of good ways to get started - if you google “one-on-one meeting manager” you’ll find a billion or so hits!
I have a free four-week quickstart guide (PDF below) to getting starting with one-on-ones, specifically aimed for our kinds of teams. Every day at first, and then a couple of times a week, there are steps to take (with scripts for what to say), and some other resources if you want to find out more.
Other Resources and next steps
Some other resources which might help you:
A guide to 1:1 meetings - Small improvements
The Manager’s Path - A modern classic of what’s expected as you rise in managerial or leadership duties in tech
re:Work new manager training guide - Google’s new manager training
Questions for our First 1:1 - Lara Hogan’s set of first 1:1 questions for starting 1:1 with a new (or old!) hire
Manager-Tools basics podcasts - A great if opinionated introductory set of podcasts
14 questions to ask an underperforming employee during a one-on-one meeting - Clair Lew, Know Your Team
What if you dread 1:1s with a direct report? - Lara Hogan, LeadDev
When a 1:1 turns into a vent session - Yihwan Kim
The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster - Michael Lopp
I have a weekly link roundup newsletter on the topic of managing research computing teams.
You can also watch my 10-minute talk, Help, I’m a (Research Software) Manager!, which talks about how one-on-ones are one of four things that help us in research become better managers (and connects with the Google new manager training above).