Managers hold huge accountability in managing employees and workplace culture. They possess power and great function in an organisation. Their role is dominant in business with almost 70 percent of what managers do impact the whole organisation’s bottom line. Besides, they are also the heart of an organisation who can either break or make company goals. Not to mention, they also have a responsibility to take care of employees by doing a one-on-one meeting.
Managers, however, are individuals who are prone to making mistakes – just like any of us. Yet, compared to employee’s mistake, faulty in managers might have greater cost as they are not only important for business goals but also employee’s wellbeing. Thus, projecting a wrong decision will affect both business and employees at all cost. As small as preparing for a one-on-one meeting might cost a lot in your employee investments, said Claire Lew, the CEO of Know Your Team.
One-on-one preparation is quite light yet potent enough for company bottom line. Having wrong questions asked during a one-on-one meeting will not only waste everyone’s time, but also squanders a valuable opportunity to support your direct rapport, added Lew. Hence, it is critical to know what questions that could decrease the effectiveness of your one-on-one meetings. Here are four common ones.
To break the ice, you might want to sound casual by asking how are you? How are things? Or how is it going on? Yet, the answer you get will always be “fine” or “good”, right? Although asking this kind of question is normal as you care about your employees’ wellbeing, frequently asking these questions might indicate that you care less on “what truly happens” and use the question merely for formality. As Lew mentioned, “How is it going? has become an automatic greeting to each other, so the answer to it has become just as automatic.”
One of one-on-one meeting purposes is to dig the latest information on anything that involves you, business, and employees. Albeit this question might help you a lot, it can block important information from your discussion. “What’s the latest on X?” question is too broad and flat signal if you want to get specific and detailed answers.
Landing a hand when your team needs you is what employees need. But asking “How can I help you?” question will not be helpful at all. Lew cited that this is the worst way to signalling your good intention because it sounds lazy. In addition, this question also hard to answer as it implies that you ask the individual to critique YOU, the boss. Consequently, employees might rarely give a precise thoughtful answer.
This is the vaguest and broadest question a manager could ever ask. Asking this question does not invite the right answer, instead, it will lead to confusion such as what improvement? Employee’s improvement? Or business improvement? Or improvement on the latest project? So, instead of getting the answer you want, you will likely get a variant of “I think things are pretty good right now” about 90 percent of the time, said Lew. Then, it might conclude to an awkward and unsatisfactory meeting.
Now, what questions you should ask instead?
Those “don’t ask questions” are broad and vague ones that lead to broad and vague answers. So, of course, you should ask more specific questions to generate better meeting outcomes. With the variety of topics you should cover, here are 23 most important questions to ask in order to get detailed answers according to professionals.