Every One-on-One Meeting Should Ask This Question

You may be surprised with the responses and the effectiveness you can create from such a simple question.

July 14th, 2017   |    By: Shay Howe    |    Tags: Management, Meetings

one-on-one meeting

It’s not “How are you feeling?”

For years I’ve been having one-on-one meetings with my employees. These meetings are invaluable for building trust, providing feedback, and sincerely understanding how I may help each employee. They’re my favorite meetings as they’re also the most productive.

During each one-on-one meeting I go over the questions provided by Lead Honestly. These questions ensure we’re continually discussing new topics, creating new insights, learnings, and feedback.

There is also one question I ask during every one-on-one meeting. Given the nature of a one-on-one meeting, and it’s focus on an employee’s emotions, many are quick to guess that this question is “How are you feeling?” It’s not.

I’ve tried this question without much luck. For one, it’s a difficult question to start with. Opening the conversation with “How are you feeling?” can startle an employee, especially if they need priming before opening up. Moreover, after a handful of other questions, I should have a pretty good sense of how they’re feeling.

The better question I’ve found is…

What else is on your mind?

I ask this question towards the end of every one-on-one meeting, after the employee is comfortable and we’ve established a safe environment. It’s an open ended question that allows employees to air any thoughts or concerns that may be weighing on them. Additionally, it provides an inviting way for them share what else is important to them that we haven’t yet discussed.

Some of the best discussions I’ve had with employees have been driven by this question. If I may, I’d encourage you to give it a try. You may be surprised with the responses and the effectiveness you can create from such a simple question.

About the Author

Shay Howe

Co-founder at Lead Honestly Co, Partner at Prota Ventures, Co-Founder of ChicagoCamps, Product Designer, Front-end Engineer, Cyclist. Follow him on Twitter at: @shayhowe

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