What it means to be “well-prepared” for your next 1:1 meeting

I’m a bit torn. I read a statistic today that only 24% of employees believe their managers show up to their 1:1 meetings well-prepared. The other 76%? “Somewhat prepared,” “not prepared,” or “not prepared at all.” The article also said there should be a clear agenda and a coherent set of questions. I’m torn because I never prepare advance questions and I don’t change the agenda for my 1:1 meetings. Why? It’s not my meeting. It’s a meeting for the person on the other side of the table. 1:1 meetings, in my view, are a chance for your team member to have your full attention about emergent work or non-work matters. ┬áIt’s not a time for you to “get the download.” This meeting isn’t for you. When I was doing more traditional 1:1 meetings (the ones I have now are a bit different) I opened it up with a open ended question and then I listened. Along the way I asked related questions based on what I was hearing. I was listening for what mattered to them, the obstacles they were facing, what was wrong with the work or the team or whatever, and much more. I was listening as much to the subtext as to the words. In my case showing up well-prepared meant I turned off the phone, the computer, and shut the door. It meant I was fully present. For a successful 1:1, focus on them.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on May 7, 2019

You Might Also Like…

The sound of your work eulogy

What would your work eulogy sound like? Maybe that opener sounds a bit morbid. The idea isn't about dying, it's about...

The 737-MAX has a trust problem

The 737-MAX is back in action! Now, if you had to board one tonight how you feel? Would it soothe you to know that the...

How gracious can you be?

How gracious can you be? That email with just enough snark. The person who is 10 minutes late to your virtual meeting....

A-Players consistently invest in themselves. Take the next step.