Step Away From Status Updates

How to be the coach and facilitator of your team. Set expectations for one to one meeting. Focus on team member, development and growth, not just tasks.


Hey, it’s Jonathan. Today I want to talk about how to set up your one-on-ones with a new member of your team. And I want to talk about this because I almost forgot this morning with a new member of my team in our first one-on-one. So we started talking, and I realized his assumption was that we were going to start talking about tasks and projects and all the things that were on his plate, which were many. I had to stop. And I said, Okay, wait a second, you know what, I actually forgot—on me, my bad—to tell you my expectation around how we should be doing our one on ones.

So we talked about it. And I said, Look, my expectation is that these one-on-ones are going to be about you, your development and your growth. Of course, we’re going to talk about tasks and projects and the work that you’re doing. But I see it as my job as your manager to make sure that we are always talking about those tasks and projects and updates and challenges in the context of your overall growth and what you’re hoping to get from your time here on my team, and in our organization. How does that sound? Right?

And so, of course, he responded and said, Oh, that sounds great, right. And it doesn’t matter that we didn’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. But that context upfront, and we’ll come back to that, because inevitably what will happen is we’ll get into the weeds into the tasks and the projects. And I’ll have to do my job as a manager to reset the conversation to make sure we’re staying in the context that it’s about his growth and development. It’s about clarity on his role, making sure he feels aligned, making sure he feels clear about the why behind his role. And then shifting gears and talking about the tasks and projects.

So when you set up with your one-on-ones, with a new member of your team, and of course you can reboot existing relationships with some of that as well. If you feel like it’s gotten really tactical and in the weeds, use this sort of script as an opportunity to reset the conversation and make sure that your one-on-ones that that valuable time that you have with those people who report to you stays at that level so that they’re getting what they need, and that you’re doing your job as the coach and facilitator of your team.

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