Why I Start All My 1:1s with this Question

Maryam Taheri
4 min readApr 6, 2022

If you’re not taking your 1:1s seriously, you’re doing it wrong.

If you’re a manager, regardless of whether you’re brand-new, have decades of experience, manage one person or a team of a hundred, continuously developing effective 1:1 skills are vital to your success and that of your team.

1:1s are a huge opportunity for you and your direct report, but most often, people fail to make most effective use of them — they use 1:1s to give project updates, assign work, or because they feel they’re just supposed to have a 1:1 with their direct report or manager. However, in a truly effective system, you don’t need much synchronous time to assign or delegate tasks or provide project updates. The best use of a 1:1 is to connect on higher level issues and problem-solving that cannot be effectively addressed asynchronously.

To me, 1:1’s are best suited for the following: identifying work priorities, unblocking complex issues, improving communication, getting data from deeper questions, and identifying how to ensure success. While responsibility for the success of a 1:1 meeting lies both with the manager and the direct report, I will write today from the perspective of the manager. Here’s how to get the most out of your 1:1s with your direct reports, and why you should think about your direct reports differently.

If you are a manager, your responsibility is to ensure both the overall success of your team and the personal success of your team’s individual members. That’s your number one job. Let me repeat: the success of your team is your number one job. It is not to give everyone work, not to hold them accountable, not to check off lists: your job is to ensure the success of your team and everyone on it.

The mindset of management often loses sight of this, so I want to get you out of the mindset of managing, because when you think strategically and make sure you’re aligning the day-to-day work your team does with the goals of the company, then magic happens.

Remember that people don’t leave bad jobs — they leave because of bad relationships with the people they report to. It’s vital that you actively build trust with your team, and, when used properly, 1:1’s are a perfect opportunity to do this. When you effectively build trust by…

Maryam Taheri

Certified Coach, Founder, Advisor, Mindset + Leadership Expert, and Dog Mom http://linkin.bio/maryamataheri