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Most people use their one-on-one meetings with direct reports to talk about current tasks and projects, problem-solving and reviewing priorities.

That’s fine, but it is a relatively low value-added use of your and their time. You both have probably already talked about those topics and don’t really need to rehash them again.

Instead, I recommend that you structure the session in two blocks over a one-hour meeting:

1) The topics for first 15-20 minutes are set by the person you are meeting with.

2) You will use the second 40-45 minute block for strategic topics and for deepening your connection with your employee.

Some sample topic areas include: Building Rapport and Trust, Career Development, Two-way Feedback, Improving the Team/Company, and “Are They Happy?”

In addition to those great subjects, you can also talk about topics such as:

  • What they are doing for coaching and development for each of their direct reports?
  • What team-building activities they are engaging in?
  • What trends and challenges do they see over the next 5 years for your industry?
  • What emerging best practices in their sphere of responsibility excite them the most?
  • What bold changes could the company make that would disrupt the industry?
  • What business books have they read lately and what are they learning?

The point is to get both of you out of your routines and to explore bigger picture, strategic matters to stimulate your thinking while deepening your relationship and building mutual trust.

You can conclude each conversation with these two questions:

1) What can you do to take action or make progress on what we talked about today?
2) What can I do to take action or make progress on what we talked about today?
I hope you found this useful! Please scroll down and share your thoughts below. Thank you!
All the best, Mark