What great managers ask their team Part II

The only question library for 1:1s you’ll ever need 

In continuation to “What great managers ask their team Part I” we bring you a second set of questions to choose from as you advance in your journey as a team leader and your 1:1s become more consistent and well planned.  If the first stage of 1:1s is to authentically build trust and provide effective feedback, the next stage is to become a better coach and focus on larger development of your direct and skip level reportees. As a bonus, we’ve added some contextual questions directed towards making the remote work experience as productive as possible.

If you (or your team) are still not getting value from your 1:1s, and need a little more guidance on how to build the habit of continuous and effective communication with your team, get your hands on a free trial of Mesh today.  

1. Questions to talk about growth and development While not necessary to bring up in every 1:1, make sure you circle back to this topic at least once every 4-6 months to show your commitment to the long term growth of your talent. According to a study by PWC, opportunities for growth and development are some of the most attractive aspects of an employer, and these 1:1s are a great time to figure out exactly what your team members have in mind.

    • What work are you doing here that you feel is most in line with your long term goals? What’s one thing we could do today to help you with this further?
    • What do you want to be doing in 5 years? 3 years?
    • Do you feel challenged at work? Do you feel you’re learning new things every month?
    • Who do you really admire? What do you admire about them? 
    • What area of the company would you like to learn more about?
    • Who in the company would you like to learn from? What do you want to learn?
    • What additional training or education would you like to help grow your skills?
    • Are there any roles in the company you’d like to learn more about?
    • If you’re at the start of the year: What do you think are the key skills you need to be successful in achieving your goals? How would you rate yourself for each of them today? What skills would you like to develop further this year?

It is a well established fact that people who get to work on their strengths are more engaged at work. If you’re using a strengths based recognition tool like Mesh, crowd-sourced feedback in your data bank will help you and your team uncover these strengths, so you can then work together on leveraging them further. 

2. Questions to become a better coach According to Gallup, “Companies are shifting from traditional performance management practices to a new approach that focuses on performance development.” Managers are no longer expected to just manage team performance, but also coach team members on an on-going basis to improve their performance and help them succeed. 

    • What skills would you like to work on this month? How will these help you achieve your stretch goals, project commitments, etc.?
    • How do you like to receive feedback? (In 1:1s, as-it-happens, etc.)
    • How do you prefer to receive recognition? (most prefer recognition socially and Mesh helps with that!)
    • When do you like to work on developing new skills? Do you have a routine for it?
    • When do you typically read? What are you reading these days?
    • What frustrates you or makes it much harder for you to learn? 

3. Questions to become a better function leader Often ignored but incredibly beneficial, are 1:1s with your skip level reportees. Occasionally connecting with them shows them you’re invested in their growth, are committed to building a great work culture, get inputs on manager performance, and gain frontline insights. If you haven’t done these before, start by focusing more of your time on building trust and rapport so they’re not intimidated by you. Once you build that sense of comfort, choose 1 or more of these questions to obtain valuable feedback. 

    • When was the last time you had a conversation with your manager about your career? How did it go?
    • Are you happy with your career progress here? Why/why not?
    • Do you feel your manager is approachable? Why/why not?
    • What is a recent situation you feel like your manager did a great job?
    • What is a recent situation you wish your manager handled differently?
    • Do you feel we properly recognize people here? Why / why not?
    • Do you want to tell me about a recent project you really enjoyed working on? What was your role in it? 
    • What is the greatest strength of your team? What does your team need to improve upon? What are you doing about it currently?

4. Questions to improve the remote work experience While remote work might have become the new normal for most of us, remote employees still face some challenges as they settle into the new dynamic. Difficulties in ‘connecting’ with team members and ‘disconnecting’ with work at the end of the day are some of the top struggles as per Buffer’s State of Remote Report 2020.

Pick a few of these questions for your next 1:1 or even team check-in to stay attuned to your team’s engagement level. 

    • What’s your favorite part about working remotely? What’s your least favorite part?
    • What do you do to recharge each day?
    • What’s your setup like for working? Is there anything you feel you’re missing?
    • How could we improve our remote work daily / weekly schedule? Is there anything we could do to improve our team check-ins?
    • Do you feel like we have enough opportunities to connect with the team outside of work? Any ideas for starting some ‘water cooler’ or ‘happy hour’ type of discussions?
    • Do you feel you get ample support when you reach out for help remotely? 
    • What’s most challenging for you in your daily work routine?
    • How do you manage distractions during the day? Is it a challenge for you?
    • Do you get my attention when you want to share any creative ideas you have? Have I dropped the ball on anything recently? 

Like most things in life, your 1:1s will get better with practice as long as you’re committed to them. Leverage these and you (and your team) will find purpose and value at work not found in any other way before. 

For maximum impact sign up for Mesh today and initiate, structure, and record notes for your 1:1s plus much more, all in one easy to use platform.

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