The key to a good one-on-one meeting is the understanding that it is the employee’s meeting rather than the manager’s meeting.
This is the free-form meeting for all the pressing issues, brilliant ideas and chronic frustrations that do not fit neatly into status reports, email and other less personal and intimate mechanisms.
The end goal of 1:1s is to build something exceptional on 2 levels. On the team level, for every Slite employee to have an ideal set up to thrive in. And on the product level, to create a world-class, widely adopted tool.
These two are impossible if we don't acknowledge our mistakes and get better every day. 1:1s are a kind of ceremony to force continuous improvement.
Very often, people waste most of the 1:1s potential. You might make a little agenda, and then give some updates, some light feedback, and share some complaints. It’s helpful and valuable and nice. But, ask yourself: is the conversation hard? Are you a little nervous or unsure how to get out what you’re trying to say? Is it awkward?
Because if it’s not a bit awkward, you’re not talking about the real stuff.
Every one-on-one is set up as a recurring event and unless one of us is on PTO or out sick, we never reschedule! It’s critical to demonstrate that this time is important. I have a recurring event on Mondays where I spend 45 minutes prepping for that week’s one-on-ones.
Feedback is huge at Doist, and it’s given and requested often. We've always encouraged open communication that is independent of levels and titles. This allows us all to truly benefit from the diverse perspectives on our team.
Ease of giving and receiving feedback varies from person to person, especially in a culturally diverse team. We often use the “Start, Stop, Continue” framework to communicate feedback. It provides structure to feedback delivery when needed and is a good reminder that feedback comes in multiple forms. It can be used to encourage someone to start a new practice, to stop something that might not be working well, or to reinforce a good practice that they should continue doing.
We don't give feedback on the personality or the character of the collaborator.
We avoid saying things like "you are not autonomous enough". Instead, we lead with the specific actions ("you ask for my validation several times a day on...").
Then, we say how those actions made us feel: "It makes me feel that I can not trust you to carry a project from A to Z, and it gives me the impression that..."