5 minute read – Posted by – December 3, 2020

How to use 1-on-1s to lighten the mood in performance management

Ask the Expert with Ashleigh Myerscough — Episode 19

Ashleigh Myerscough, Senior Performance Coach at 7Geese answers your questions about human resources and people management during the pandemic. 

Q: How can we lighten up our 1-on-1 meetings during this challenging time?

AM: Many of us may be overwhelmed by the negative news surrounding us right now, due to economic or societal events that are happening. 

It’s very important to have an outlet to discuss those feelings and concerns that are coming up around us and influencing our work. It’s also important to recognize that 1-on-1s have the opportunity to uplift our mood, to refresh our energy, and have a positive connection within our day. 

At 7Geese we have multiple 1-on-1s throughout the week, some of which are more tactical with our managers and others that are more creative, like idea sessions. This provides the opportunity to shift our mindset about 1-on-1s from being just performance conversations to being a true connection. 

Revisit the purpose of 1-on-1s

My first suggestion is to look at the purpose of your 1-on-1s and consider shifting that purpose. Before we went remote, our 1-on-1s were very tactical in nature. It was an opportunity for managers and team members to connect, to regroup on our objectives, to refresh what we needed to be working on and if need be, switch directions due to roadblocks or potential successes. 

When we moved to remote we all needed more support from one another and the true purpose of 1-on-1s started to shine through. We had true connections happening between managers and team members. 

Now that we’re well on our journey into remote life, it’s important for us to recognize that we can refresh this purpose by directly asking our team members what they need from us right now. Some of our team members may still benefit from having those very tactical conversations and removing roadblocks. Others may need to have that chance to report to our managers about our successes and our messes. Others may really need and benefit from having that face time with our managers, to really connect to the purpose of the team and where they fit in. 

Vary your 1-on-1 topics 

My second suggestion is to change up the topics and agendas that you use each week. It’s the same as when our gym routines can become a little boring if Mondays are always leg days, Wednesdays are always core, and Fridays are always upper-body. Asking the same questions each week can become rather monotonous. Ask your team member specifically what they need to get out of your 1-on-1s. 

In 7Geese’s 1-on-1s feature we have different input types. For our 1-on-1 questions, you can use a multiple-choice number scale or traditional open text. This provides variety not only in the questions you can ask but the way you gather your answers. 

It helps to add variety to your 1-on-1s. You can vary your questions and inputs and choose which questions you’re going to answer together each week. 

Ask a random question in your 1-on-1s

The last suggestion I have for you is to add a random question to your weekly 1-on-1s. These can be super simple, such as asking about their favorite color or favorite holiday tradition. Or you can be more direct, asking things like ‘where do you want to go on your next holiday? What’s left on your bucket list?’ 

Asking these types of questions will provide a different lens into who your team member is. You’ll find similarities, differences, new interests, and you’ll connect with them as a whole person rather than just being a direct report. 

To lighten your 1-on-1s, change up your questions, change up the way you answer them, revisiting the purpose of your 1-on-1s and add some variance to your topics. Your team members will begin to appreciate 1-on-1s as an opportunity for a connection and an uplifting experience. 

To see how we do this at 7Geese, using 7geese, reach out for a tour

Ashleigh Myerscough

Senior Performance Coach at 7Geese