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One On One Meetings

25 Questions A Manager Can Ask In One On One Meetings With Their Team

Having regular one-on-one meetings with each team member is one of the most critical things every manager must do. That’s why it’s necessary to prepare for the meeting with the right questions. By doing this, you’ll be able to maximize the chances of a productive meeting and get the most out of it. This blog post will discuss the must-ask questions you should include in your 1:1s. So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

The purpose of one on one meetings

One-on-one meetings are a great way to give and get constructive feedback and suggestions from your team. Generally, they’re an effective way for managers to identify problems early on and address them before they become more significant issues. They also serve as a medium to ensure the psychological safety of team members. If done correctly, one-on-one meetings can be a time-saver and help build team cohesion. Further, one-on-one meetings also allow managers to effectively assess team performance, identify team strengths and weaknesses, and outline specific short and long-term goals for the team.

Additionally, one-on-one meetings build trust and rapport between managers and team members. Therefore, managers must regularly conduct one-on-one meetings with their team members (recommended Bi-weekly). Managers can only achieve the agenda of these one-on-one meetings when they ask the right questions. What are those right questions? Let’s find out in our next section.

25 questions a manager can ask in one on one meetings

It’s essential to have regular one-on-one meetings to carry out an elaborate check-in with team members, discuss progress, and assess the team’s performance. Make sure to ask the following questions in your next meeting to achieve the meeting agenda effectively. We have divided these meeting questions into Five different categories for better understanding.

“General catchup”

How have you been from the last time we caught up?

A question that can lighten the mood and allow the other person to express their feelings can be a perfect start for a one-on-one meeting. Asking them how they have been since the last time you caught up or how was the past week will allow them to feel relaxed and open up with you. They will then be comfortable providing you with the correct answers and honest feedback. This question, in particular, will help you do the same while also giving you an idea of how your team members have been keeping up. Their responses can help you assess the employee wellness levels of your team and can get you some points on what’s lacking. This question is also relevant in the case of new team members, as the last time we caught up can be referred to as the onboarding time.

Has everything been positive lately?

One of the most critical questions that a manager can ask during a one-on-one meeting is, “has everything been positive lately?” By asking this question, the manager can get a sense of how stressed the team member is and whether any issues need to be addressed. Additionally, asking this question can allow your team members to be more relaxed and open up. They will then feel comfortable talking about any issues they may be facing.

What have you been working on recently?

It is significant for managers who want to keep track of their team’s progress and ensure everyone is on the same page. By asking employees what they’ve been working on recently, you can ascertain whether their initiatives align with the company’s objectives and strategy. You can also assess if they are doing the same work you delegated them. It also allows you to give feedback or pointers where necessary.

Do you feel you could have done your job better?

It is a callous question for employees to answer. However, the answers you will get to this question will be rich in information that can be useful for you to manage your team effectively. It is proven that people who want to grow in their careers can never be satisfied with their performance and will always look for ways to improve it. Therefore, asking this question will help the manager identify growth-oriented or restricted mindsets within the team. They can then use that information to delegate leadership opportunities and crucial tasks to the identified growth-oriented team members as a growth-oriented mindset can be the right choice for these tasks. Asking this question will also help you assess the accountability of your team.

Are you up to date with the latest changes in the workplace?

One of the most important aspects of a productive workplace is keeping up to date with the latest changes and updates. It includes everything from new software applications to company policies and initiatives. Often, managers are busy and don’t have time to update each team member about every update and policy document. But they can expect the team members to take the initiative and keep themselves updated. That is why it’s important to ask employees if they are aware of anything new that has come up recently.

Are you able to maintain a sound work-life balance?

Managers must evaluate the work-life balance of their employees to ensure that they can stay focused and productive throughout their working hours. It will allow managers to assess the workplace’s stress levels and help them identify any potential burnout or team conflict.

Is your workload within control?

It’s essential for managers to ask their team members about their workload and whether it is within control. As a manager, you already know the workload you have set. It will give you an idea of whether the work they assign to their team members a feasible or not. Answers to this question will also give you ideas about the different team members’ capabilities in handling the workload. You can then plan your resources accordingly and ensure that everyone is working at their best. You can also use this information to decide on potential promotions, layoffs, and other essential personnel decisions.

Do you find your work interesting?

Managers must ask their team members if they find their work interesting to keep them engaged and motivated. If team members feel their work is mundane and unenlightening, they will quickly lose interest. Managers can ask their team members what they enjoy doing and what they find challenging about their job. It will help managers tailor the team’s work experience to match the team’s strengths and keep everyone on their toes with high employee engagement levels.

Is our work mode comfortable for you?

Various work modes are introduced and adopted in the market in these constantly changing and evolving times. The major ones include work from home, traditional work from the office, or the hybrid model where employees are free to choose from the previous two for themselves. If it is not the third mode you are working with, managers need to ask their employees if they are comfortable with the current working model. If the majority doesn’t favor the current model, it may be time to look for and adopt a different work mode.

Are there any new ideas or strategies that you’ve been exploring?

No manager would want their team members’ thought processes and knowledge to be restricted. Managers would wish team members to continuously look for new ideas and strategies. In that case, it will expand their knowledge and enhance their capabilities to think strategically, innovatively, and creatively. Also, if presented forward as inputs, these ideas or strategies can work for the betterment of the entire team. Further, it will help managers identify the individuals in their team who are willing to grow and expand their knowledge. This information will also help decide on promotions.

What skills do you want to develop to make your performance even better?

To foster a productive and engaged team, managers must ask their team members what skills they want to develop in the coming years. It can help managers strategize and tailor their training and career development programs accordingly, so that team members can grow in the most critical areas and achieve their professional goals. Managers can also refer to the skills and competencies which the employee will mention in the future performance review. Managers can assess whether the team member was able to develop those skills or not.

What is your vision for your future career path?

To help your team members develop their careers, it is essential to have an overview of their vision for the future. Asking them a question about their vision for the future will give you an idea of their career aspirations and their expectations from the job. Some may want to learn all there is to learn in their field, some may wish to become capable enough to get a promotion, or some may want to achieve higher performance standards. You can help them pursue those aspirations and fulfill their expectations if feasible. By ensuring the growth your team members seek, you can facilitate the collective development of the team.

Is something you find missing in our work that could have improved your experience?  

We’re constantly striving to make our experience better for ourselves and our team members at work. But sometimes, we can get busy with day-to-day tasks and overlook the little things that could significantly impact us. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to ask your team members what they think could make the workplace experience better. You’ll be able to identify any deficiencies and work to rectify them as soon as possible.

Are you happy with the level of decision-making power you have?

In a team, it’s essential that everyone be happy with their decision-making power level. It shows whether the manager has given the right amount of autonomy to their team members or not. Providing the proper autonomy is crucial for bringing out the best in your team. When they have the right to make decisions necessary for their work, it fosters a sense of ownership which never comes without an improved performance. Therefore, if the majority of the answers to this question are negative or NO, you should be on your way to delegating a bit more autonomy.

Do you ever have a feeling of being left out or left behind recently within the team?

Your team must work cohesively and in harmony. If not, there may be instances where few individual team members will feel left out or left behind. It can cause various mishappenings like resentment, frustration, demoralization, in-fighting, etc. Therefore, it is vital to have a cohesive team culture that fosters a sense of togetherness among team members. Answers to this question will enlighten you with instances in which your team cannot work cohesively or inclusively, and then you can take measures to fix it.

Do you find yourself under constant check or control when at work?

Micromanagement is a common problem that can make employees feel under constant pressure and stressed out. Practicing too much micromanagement is a sign that the manager is not trustful in the ability of team members to do their job. Instead, they rely too much on supervision and control. No manager would ever want to be thought of as one who doesn’t trust their team. Therefore, asking this question in one-on-one meetings is essential to assess if you micromanage your team. If the majority of the answers to this question suggest come as YES, it’s high time that you start giving some freedom to your employees.

Has there been any problem while collaborating with other team members?

It is a manager’s responsibility to facilitate collaboration within their team effectively. They should ensure that each team member can easily collaborate and smooth the workflow. Therefore, asking this question in one-on-one meetings is essential. Answers to this question can give the manager insights into all issues making the collaboration difficult. They can then take measures to resolve those issues and facilitate effective collaboration that happens in cadence.

What is the level of dedication you see in your fellow team members?

A manager only has an overview of how dedicatedly their team members are performing, and they only have a few metrics to measure that. However, a team member works in that team and has a real-time idea of the dedication their fellow team members show in their work. Therefore, to have a good idea of the dedication levels of the team, managers should ask this question in one-on-one meetings. If the answers suggest that dedication is low, the best way forward for managers is to facilitate workshops, coaching, or training to enhance that dedication among the team. They can also set an example by showcasing high commitment themselves.

Are you happy with how I manage work with you and delegate tasks to you?

Ensuring an effective management style and delegation process is one of the most important tasks of a manager. And who else can give better feedback on these than the one being managed and getting the delegated tasks? Therefore, it is a must-ask question in the conversation between the manager and team members. They can use the answers to this question to make necessary tweaks in the management style and delegation process to achieve higher efficiency.

Have you seen any consistent shortfall within the team?

Employees being the internal member of the team, are more likely to witness those shortfalls that a manager might not be able to identify. These shortfalls can range from a team member’s incompetence to a software or tool lag. Even though these shortfalls are not directly visible to the manager, it is crucial to identify them and work on them to avoid unwanted delays or inefficiency. Therefore, managers should ask their team members this question in one-on-one meetings. Once these shortfalls are identified, the next step is for the managers to take immediate measures to overcome these shortfalls and achieve more incredible promptness and efficiency.

Have you seen any toxicity within our team?

Toxicity is a crucial talking point within a one-on-one meeting. Toxicity can foster anywhere within an employee, clients, customers, external stakeholders, or managers. These toxic elements within the team can be a real threat to the productivity and positivity of the workplace. They can lead to frustration, resentment, burnout, or even turnover. Therefore managers need to take input on this topic from their employees in their one-on-one meetings. They should figure out if there is any toxic element within their team or their work environment. Eliminating these harmful elements ASAP will ensure a safe toxic-free workplace where employees can work to their full potential and thrive.

“Questions for new members of the team”

Why did you leave your last job/company?

To ensure a cohesive team and build trust, you must ask your new team members some critical questions during one-on-one meetings. Questions like “Why did you leave your last job?” or “What made you decide to leave your last company?” will help you understand their motivations and assess how you can address the limitations in your team. By understanding their past, you can set expectations and foster a positive working environment from the start.

Are you able to adjust well to the team and your work?

In the case of a new team member, it is vital to ensure that they adjust well with their team and the work. It will ensure they can contribute effectively and become good team members. Therefore, asking this question to your new team members is highly essential. It will allow you to identify any problems or issues they may be facing related to their work or the team. After you have identified those issues, you can take measures to eliminate them, which will ensure a smooth transition for them.

Are the goals and expectations set for you clear and achievable?

When it comes to inexperienced team members, managers need to do a bit of handholding. They should ensure that the goals and expectations they set for them are clear and achievable. It is essential to prevent them from feeling overwhelmed or under too much pressure, especially at the very start of their new role. Their goals should be challenging but should still be feasible with complete clarity from every angle. Therefore, asking it directly to the latest team members will be highly helpful to ensure their efficiency from the start.

What makes our team different from the last team you were a part of? (Both positively and negatively)

New team members can give a manager much helpful information that they can use to manage their team better. Suppose you make them comfortable communicating with you openly. In that case, they can provide an external perspective and information about what makes your team different from the last team they were a part of. It can give you a decent idea of your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You can then build on these strengths and work to overcome the weaknesses.

Conclusion

Managers are always looking for ways to improve their team’s performance. They can better understand their employees and equip them to do their best work by conducting effective one-on-one meetings. This blog has outlined 25 questions that managers can ask in these meetings. Hopefully, it will help managers get the most out of their interactions with their team members. Make sure to prepare meeting notes, as those inputs can go a long way to shape a better workplace and better relationships with your team members.

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