Farai with a bushy beard, smiling

IM #1: 🤔 Wait, did we agree on why we need 1:1 meetings?

2 min read reading time


In my first years as a manager, I didn’t explain to my reports what a 1:1 meeting is for.

It seemed obvious to me. This is a common manager mistake.

We think that what’s obvious to us is obvious to others.

#Realtalk, Every:1 who reports to you has their own view of what a 1:1 meeting is, what to use it for, and how to use it well. Their previous experiences before they joined you have taught them certain expectations of a 1:1.

This sounds obvious, but needs to be said: assuming that 2 strangers ('cos that's what you are) both have the same idea about how to have 1:1s (or about anything else for that matter) is a recipe for something nasty.

❗The impact of no aligning on the purpose of a 1:1

At best, you will waste time and effort trying to have useful 1:1s when you haven’t aligned on what a successful 1:1 looks like with Every:1 you manage.

Neither of you can afford to leave the success of the most important meeting in your partnership to chance.

At worst, you'll misunderstand and frustrate each other. Distrust will breed in the dark corners of your relationship. You'll feel it in the awkwardness of every interaction until 1 of you decide to align on what's wrong.

Or 1 of you will call quits.

🖐️ In your next 1:1 Try this:

Casually slip in something like: “Hey, we’ve never spoken about this, but I’d be interested to hear what you think a 1:1 meeting is for”. If all goes according to plan, this will open a conversation where you can get on the same page about:

  • What a 1:1 meeting is for: To discuss and align on issues that will increase their impact and accelerate THEIR career progress.f
  • Meeting format and expectations: Time, place, frequency, agenda, rescheduling, etc.
  • What a bad 1:1 meeting looks like: Signals that something is not working and needs correcting.

Give it a shot in a 1:1 this week. Let me know how it goes on farai@heyfarai.com.

If you found this useful, send it to a manager who you think could benefit 🙌🏾


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