March 21, 2018


By: Ron Guest, Senior Partner, TwoGreySuits www.twogreysuits.com

Ok, in my last BLOG, I was building the case for doing  employee/manager 1:1’s every 2 weeks for 30 minutes, which works out to less than 1% of your or your employees time in a whole work year.

So, let’s assume you’re with me here; now – what can we talk about every two weeks without becoming repetitious or maybe even boring. The short answer is – THERE’S LOTS TO TALK ABOUT!

One very important role you have as a people manager is to really get to know your direct reports… and no, not the names of their kids and their favorite sports team, etc., what I mean here is gaining a deep understanding of what truly motivates them and inspires them, what are their goals, fears, challenges, stressors, what are their dreams, what energizes them?  When you learn this, you can ask more questions which will help them and also you as their manager.

Effective management and leadership requires that you understand employees perspectives and their hopes and dreams and that you present them with challenges that lead them in the direction they want to be moving anyways. Curiosity about employees and asking questions of them builds healthy relationships and can also spark innovation, avoid emergencies and serves to help employees be themselves and also to be more engaged.

When we ask questions, we can see that the thoughts or beliefs employees have are often based on subjective beliefs that can be (need to be) changed or redirected.  (this is coaching; getting employees to change their thoughts/beliefs/behaviors) Asking the right questions allows the manager to better understand the employee’s thought processes, assess their personal beliefs on limits of authority and control and ultimatly their will to act. As an example when we better understand employee thought processes, we can coach them to solve problems on their own that they would otherwise come to you for help with.

Here are just 10 very thought provoking and even revealing questions we should consider when conducting employee/manager 1:1’s.

  • What is going well in your job? , and not so well?
  • What are your biggest challenges/fears/
  • If you could make decisions without needing to seek approval what would they be?
  • What process can be eliminated or improved or added.
  • What can I do in my job which would help you to do your job better?
  • What is preventing you from making more progress on a weekly basis?
  • When do you feel most productive?
  • What would help us improve daily communications around here?
  • What do you find most exciting about your work right now?
  • Are you very clear on your role here and what is expected of you?

In the next month we will be revamping a section or Performance Management on our TwoGreySuits website and this will include many more of these thought provoking type questions.

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TwoGreySuits is a leading edge provider of on-line human resource management information, processes, tools and forms servicing the North American market. They have linked the HR practices associated with the key drivers of Employee Engagement in the form of an on-line training application for managers utilizing the vast amount of well-organized information on the website. They license their product to individual companies and Associations, Franchisors and Value-Added Resellers (VARS). Contact them at info@twogreysuits.com

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