When you become a manager, or leader, your responsibility shifts. Your role isn’t to maximize the potential for the work, it’s to maximize the potential of those around you.
Yet so few leaders fulfill this core responsibility. You can blame a lack of training. An ever-hastening pace of business. Cultures that seem to relish in giving individuals fewer resources than they need to succeed. There’s plenty of blame to go around, but it doesn’t distract from the fact that no one should be a leader if they can’t commit time and effort to improving the abilities of their direct reports.
Recently, we’ve become obsessed with how we conduct 1:1s at NOBL. We’ve distilled a handful of practices from leading teams, scientific research, and the observations we’ve gathered from our time with clients. The image above captures our own process for 1:1s. Use it, change it, and share it internally with your fellow leaders.
- “Tell me about your strengths.” Refresh yourself and them on when they are most energized and capable at work.
- “What’s on your plate?” Review their project and major tasks for the next two weeks. Keep and eye out for work that doesn’t match their strengths.
- “What are you most excited about right now?” Have your colleague discuss the work that’s most energizing to them and discuss why.
- “What are you least excited about?” Have your colleague discuss the work that’s most deflating to them and ask why. You could help them understand the importance of the tasks within a larger context, de-prioritize it, or re-assign it.
- “What’s in your way?” Ask your colleague if anything is blocking their forward progress and work together to remove those barriers. Be prepared that a barrier might be another employee.
- “What feedback can you give me? Where can I give you feedback?” Deliver and accept feedback with candor and care.