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One to One meetingλ︎

One to one meetings are an opportunity for two people to improve their relationship via regular discussions, within a safe environment of open and honest communication.

Managers can guide their reports as well as ensure their own objectives are aligned with the major needs of the team.

Discussions can cover a wide range of topics about personal and career development, first checking with each person what they are comfortable discussing. A person is far more than the constraints of their current role and wider discussions can help create a str

The meetings should continually look for challenges and identify action points on either side to make the meetings even more valuable.


  • As a manager, ensure personal goals and objectives are aligned with each team member’s priorities
  • Provide regular, open feedback, both positive and constructive. Identify any minor issues quickly through discussion before they escalate and become substantive problems
  • Facilitate open and honest communication on a regular basis
  • Help staff to feel motivated, listened to and valued
  • Build your interpersonal team relationships and encourage your direct reports to have trust in you, allowing them to speak freely without any peer pressure from the broader team
  • Show team members that you respect and value their time

Safe environmentλ︎

Each person should feel able to talk as a peers, ignoring any positional power or roles.

Those in positional power should demonstrate patience and gratitude throughout the meeting, thanking the person for their time and for the information they have shared.

People and rolesλ︎

Who may have this type of meeting:

  • manager or team leader and a direct report
  • mentor and mentee
  • engineering colleagues
  • engineer and business specialist
  • sales or marketing with customers


  • build a closer relationship between the two people and provide
  • understand an individuals needs and goals as well as understanding what motivates them


  • Manager wants to support the employee so they are effective and motivated to continue their career at the company
  • Mentor supports career and personal development, which may also
  • Engineer can address a wider set of topbic or those challenges they are unclear how to resolve,


  • a clearer understanding the other person in the meeting (from both sides)
  • actions to support the person, with priority and scope of value (when to action)
Anti-patter: Ego boost

The meeting should not be used by the Engineering manager to exert control or to derive feelings of superiority.

The meeting is to enhance the relationship between two people and one person trying to exert pressure or control will damage that relationship.

The manager or mentor should demonstrate genuine interest in the person being met with, listening to their answers carefully and helping them identify actions they can try to evolve situations discussed

Establishing discussionλ︎

An initial meeting should establish the following aspects early on, to help frame the meetings and identify any specific aspect to address or avoid.

  • Identify and agree on purpose of the meetings
  • Identify meaningful frequency of meeting, e.g. every 2 weeks or once a month
  • Topics to be discussed during these meetings: project, company, career or personal
  • identify issues that need to be addressed
  • identify issues/topics to avoid or have addressed by others
  • level of detail each person is confortable adressing
  • Share and agree on the value of the meeting for each person involved
  • Discuss the need to establish a level of trust for meetings to be of value

revisit this establishing discussion at regular points to understand if the dynamics of the meeting should change

Evolve the meetings

Ensure the meetings remain valuable to both parties by regularly disussing the meeting format and topics discussed.

Meetings may benefit from a change in duration, time or day. Dont be afraid to end or extend a meeting as needed (as long as both parties agree)

Manager Tools Basics

Attentive listeningλ︎

Attentive listening involves not only listening to the works and their underlying intent, but also observing tone, facial expressions and body language.

An empathic listener is one who listens “with the intent to understand everything that the other person is trying to communicate, knowing that words are only part of the message.”

Regular Feedbackλ︎

Provide positive feedback regularly to provide a source of motivation to the other person.

Provide constructive feedback as early as possible to allow the other person to action improvements before a situation may deteriorated.

Constructive feedback is a valuable experience when offered in a way intended to help.

Prepare what you want to say in advance and be as specific as possible, inviting questions and thoughts from the other person and agree together a plan of action for moving forward.

Collaborative people should welcome feedback in return, encouraging others to tell them how they can better support them going forward.


Both people involved should have an appreciation of the value of the one-to-one meeting and regularly work to ensure the meeting continues to deliver value for both over time.

Avoid cancellation of the meeting without good reason and providing an explianation. Cancelation, especially last minute can signal to the other person that time with them is not as valued as it should be.

Transparency, understanding and mutual support are the rewards for regular and consistent meetings.