Ask HN: What do you do in your 1-on-1s with your direct reports?

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This seems to work for me:

  1. This is your time to talk about whatever is on your mind. If you want to talk about the footy over the weekend, that’s fine. If you want to talk about work or issues at home or career progression, that’s fine.
  2. Sometimes there is not much to talk about - and that’s fine too. If they do not have much to say on a particular day and I don’t have much to say, it’s a short meeting.
  3. As said previously, try never to reschedule and never, never forget.
  4. It’s a really good time as a manager to practice listening. For that reason, I never have an agenda (i.e. things I want to say) at these meetings. Also, I try to contain the impulse to give advice unless they specifically ask for it.
  5. I make it quite clear that as far as legally possible, I will maintain confidentiality. The only time that something may be relayed upward is if there is requirement for me to do so (e.g. an employee reporting harassment).

From Manager Tools Podcast:

  1. Have a 1x1 once a week with each direct for 30 min
  2. If you can have your 1x1 walking (go for coffee, head outside) try and do that; conversation flows easier when it’s not in a confined space like a meeting room.
  3. Loosely allocate the meeting in 1/2: 15 min for them to talk about whatever they want. 15 min for you to talk about what you need to talk about (usually top->down information), and at least leave a few min at the end for career development or tactics.
  4. Throw out rule #3 if they want to talk more than 15 min. Always cut your portion down to accommodate them. The point of the meeting is to build trust. Building trust means listening to your directs and getting to know them and what makes them tick. You’ll always learn more by listening than instructing.