Let’s face it, nobody looks forward to their one to one with their line manager. And what might be surprising for some is, the line manager doesn’t either! Why? Usually because it feels stressful, squeezed in between other meetings, and like a bit of a waste of time. In my past experience it is often seen as a space where you can just run through the person’s task list and see what has/hasn’t been done. Because of this, it is often the first meeting to get pushed when we are all busy. Making us feel under valued. With many of us working remotely as well, we definitely shouldn’t be waiting for our (usually also dreaded) annual review to talk about where we want to go next, the details of our own personal development plan! Ideally, this should be covered regularly so there are no surprises.

So – how could we do this differently?

Can you figure out how to enjoy these conversations? Think of them as a coffee with a friend, not a meeting. If you both like to walk then walk and talk. If you like lunches, do it over a meal. Think about your own energy dip, don’t schedule it at that time! Find out when their optimal time of day is as well. If you’re the manager, prioritise the meetings. If you’re the employee and your manager isn’t prioritising them, talk to them, and ask them for what you need. Design it together.

Here are my five tips for better 121s for managers:

  1. Schedule them and stick to them. Weekly. Prioritise them. Set a high bar for cancelling or moving them.
  2. Change it up! Change the setting, one week walk, next week eat etc. Be on time. Show that person that they are valuable to you.
  3. Have an agenda. Ask them to own it. Use ‘Google keep’ or a shared doc to track topics.
  4. Make sure the agenda is about THEM! What more can you do to support them? What have they enjoyed, what are they struggling with?
  5. This is your chance as a manager to get FEEDBACK. Ask them what more could you do to support them? Is there anything you could be doing differently that would help them?

A few agenda ideas:

Example agenda #1

1. Our Results
2. Your Career Development
3. Feedback for me (the line manager should get it, not give it).

Example agenda #2

1. What’s on your mind this week?
2. How happy were you this past week?
3. How productive were you this past week?
4. What feedback do you have for me?

Get those 121’s booked in and set in stone! Good luck and enjoy!

I work with businesses, executives and teams, to help them create a healthier more productive environment. That ultimately makes for a higher performing, happier business. If you’d like to have a no strings Discovery session about how I could support your business, just get in touch.