Weekly one-on-one meeting template walk-through:
Why have 1:1s weekly?
If you've got a team that is small enough (around 5 people) or you have a team whose roles are different. You'll want to consider a weekly 1:1 meeting to help them perform to their fullest. If you have a larger team doing very similar roles monthly 1:1s might be right for you instead.
Why one hour?
At the start of your relationship, it's usually good to spend more time together building trust and rapport, helping with onboarding, and getting feedback flowing. It's also better to overbook time and regain 20 minutes back in your days, versus rushing through the agenda.
Often the best way to kick this off is to say "I'm going to book this for 1hr and we can always leave early. In a few weeks, we can adjust this to 30 or 45 minutes if we both agree it's the right call."
1. What has been the highlight and lowlight of your past week?
It’s always good to break the ice with something easy. What's the best thing that happened (personally or professionally) for each of you? Be curious: Why was it the highlight?
Managers: Be vulnerable first! Share your lowlight and explain why it sucked. When you open up first, it makes it easier for direct reports to open up to you too.
2. Goals - how are you tracking this past week?
It’s good to keep your goals at the top of the agenda because it focuses your week towards the things that should matter most. If you feel like these goals don't matter weekly, maybe you need different goals?
Think about it this way: If you talk about your goals weekly, then you have 52 chances each year to make the adjustments needed to hit them. If you only talk about them monthly, then you only have 12 chances. Wouldn’t you rather have more?
3. Any blockers I can help remove?
The previous two questions should set you up nicely to discuss blockers that exist. Keep in mind that this isn’t just about blockers your direct report is facing, it’s also about the things they can do to better unblock you.
4. What, if anything, feels harder than it should be in your day to day work?
This question gets at the same answer in an indirect way: Addressing "known problems" versus "unknown problems". This question offers a great opportunity for you to discover and discuss any issues that need to be solved.
5. If there was one thing I could do differently to help you more, what would it be?
The unfortunate truth of management is people can be intimidated by you, and therefore you'll get less and less feedback. This sucks for your personal growth. The best way to change that is to address it head on and ask the question.
If you keep hearing "no, all good" you might want to read up on psychological safety.
6. On a scale of 1-10 how happy are you with your work life balance? How can we get closer to [their answer + 1]?
This is a great way to end a 1:1. Not because of their answer, but because of the follow-up.
For example, let's say they say "7." You say, "Awesome, why?" And they'll tell you. The real super power is asking, "What would make it a 7.5 or 8?"
Let's be real, not everyone can be a 10/10 every week. And jumping from a 7 to a 10 means that all problems have gone away. But getting to a 7.5? All that needs to happen is to get rid of that nagging little thing.
That's a win. That's likely something you can help get rid of between this week and the next. Do that enough times and your team will feel lucky to have you as a manager.