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  • Writer's pictureMarty Anderson

Take time for the HOW!

Often in weekly 1/1s, leaders and their people focus on the work, priorities and getting things done. But when is there time to talk about “how” the work is getting done? Too often, this conversation is never had and it can leave the leader (or the follower) frustrated. The follower never knows “how am I doing?” Or wonders “how do I go about giving feedback to my leader so we can better work together?”

I recommend 1-2x a year, leaders should meet 1/1 with their people to discuss how the work is getting done. Set aside specific time in advance so both parties can prepare. Meet in a neutral location like a conference room and not in the leader’s office where position power and interruptions happen. The topics can be anything except the work itself (there are weekly 1/1s for that).

You need time to connect about how the two of you are communicating including what’s working and what’s not. It needs to be an open exchange where both parties are open to receiving feedback on what’s working well and also on how things could be improved. It’s a good time to refer back to specific situations that didn’t go so well.

The goal for both people is to “seek to understand” and listen. You want there to be clarity and have both parties feel heard. This is true for the leader and the follower. This is not just a meeting for the leader to give feedback to the follower. It’s also time for the leader to GET feedback on how they can be a better leader. And before the meeting ends, you should agree on a future time to meet to see if things have improved.

Creating a safe environment where both parties can communicate openly and honestly with one another greatly improves trust. Taking time to talk about HOW the work gets done will greatly improve the quality of the work itself.

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1 Comment

El Gato
El Gato
Aug 07, 2021

Very well stated Marty, and Agreed! I especially like the point about meeting in a neutral place as that aspect of a meeting can be so important and impactful, given the psychological dynamics related to power and position bias in communication between people related to their surroundings.

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