Leaders are generally great solo achievers, but they often get one-on-one check-ins wrong. Either they give too little attention to their direct reports or smother them with communications and requests for updates. It’s challenging to find the appropriate level and cadence of interaction.
People need an individual place to connect with their direct supervisor, so it’s crucial to get these meetings right. At Michael Hyatt & Company, we allow 30 minutes to an hour for one-on-ones, depending on the nature of the role. One-on-one meetings are ultimately about accountability and alignment. They’re a time for leaders to give focused time to their direct reports, discuss ongoing or new projects, and establish expectations moving forward.
To ensure a successful one-on-one, structure your check-ins around these four questions:
- What updates do you have for me? As a leader, you need to keep your ear close to the ground. You’ll want to know what’s going on in the business and how progress is being made toward goals. Since your direct reports are on the front lines, they’ll be your access point for that.
- What decisions do you need me to make? This is key, because you’re likely the person your direct report is waiting on. Their progress on goals and projects might be impeded by your delay in decision-making. You might not even realize there are decisions to be made, so weekly check-ins give your direct reports focused access to you to keep things moving.
- What progress have you made on your quarterly milestones? If you have annual goals, you probably have quarterly milestones you’re aiming for. To ensure they’re met, you need to establish a level of accountability toward their completion. If someone within your team or organization is struggling, you’ll want to know before they start falling behind. This gives you and your direct report a better chance of keeping up and hitting the deliverables.
- What problems are blocking your progress? This is an incredibly important question, because your people have problems. Those problems might be you, a lack of margin they’re experiencing, someone else in the company, or circumstances outside of and unrelated to work. Not only can this be a catch-all question, it demonstrates you’re in their corner and will come alongside them to solve problems.
Using these four questions to structure your weekly one-on-ones, you can move from reacting to problems to proactively resourcing your team for success. What questions will you use to guide weekly check-ins with your direct reports?
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