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When managing a team of staff or consultants at work or in your business it is good to use a combination of both regular and ad hoc team and one to one meetings. As a manager this enables you to manage the team and business workloads, update on the business, discuss key areas and new developments, understand and deal with any challenges and issues and to motivate your team. As a member of a team you feel supported, informed, heard and motivated by your manager if they have regular team and one to one meetings with you.
However in working with business owners, directors and managers I find that the discipline of regular team and one to one meetings is often overlooked with negative consequences for the performance of the business. One of the reasons I hear for not having regular (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) one to one meetings is that business owners, directors and managers don't know what questions to ask so I thought that would be a good topic for this article.
Here are some key questions you can ask your team in regular one to one meetings:
How is everything with you? This is a great opening question as it enables the team member to feel comfortable, give you an update on what is going on with them and also gives them an opportunity to talk openly with you. It will also help you get a feel for how the staff member is and be a good starting point for the meeting.
What has gone well since we last met? This question enables the staff member to update you on what has gone well and their successes with their work since you last met. This will enable you to hear the positives, praise them and will start the meeting on a high note.
What has not gone so well since we last met? This question will enable the staff member to fill you in on the challenges they have faced and the issues and problems they have had. This will enable you to understand where the staff member may be struggling and identify training needs. It will also help you to discuss the challenges, issues and problems with the staff member and to identify solutions together.
What should we do differently? This question will give the staff member the opportunity to make suggestions for changes in the business (this could be anything including products, services, systems, sales, marketing, production, processes, procedures etc.). As a manager you will be able to consider the suggestions from all your team members and where appropriate improve the business for the better.
What are your key objectives until our next meeting? This will enable your staff member to update you are their plans until you meet again and it will give you the opportunity to either agree these objectives and workload or amend them to fit with the business needs. This will then get the staff member to a set of objectives that are agreed with you.
What else can I help you with today? This is a great final question as it just opens up the conversation and enables the staff member to say if they need any help or mention anything else that is relevant.
There are many other useful questions that you may want to incorporate into your one to ones but the above key questions will form a great core for your meetings.
Hopefully the above has got you thinking about managing your team and the questions you ask in one to one meetings.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: October 2017
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including anxiety management, communication, resilience, soft skills, stress management, time management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a FREE consultation session to discuss our business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services for business owners, directors, managers and professionals.