Just another blog…

One-on-One

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One-to-ones should be seen as a special time, it’s usually the only time set aside for you and a member of the team to talk…about anything! Unfortunately, it seems most time in one-on-ones is used up with status reports that a manager should know anyway. Set a target to learn something new from each of your one-on-one conversations.

Fill in the gaps

A manager cannot be in every conversation or meeting. One-on-ones are an opportunity to ask questions to fill in any gaps from missed meetings/discussions.

  • How did the meeting go? (give specific details in the question)
  • What was the outcome?
  • Is there anything I need to know?

You learn a lot about the person in the way they describe events. Was the context set? Can you understand the main topics from them? Were the outcomes described clearly? Did you notice any bias? These conversations let you fill in the… Continue reading

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I enjoy photography and learning how to capture better photos. I’ve been the photographer at a few low-key events, snapping away trying to catch those special photos. It’s not until later that someone asks did you get a picture of this or can I see a particular photo that you realise you didn’t capture it in the right way or didn’t get it at all. I didn’t know it was important so didn’t spend time being in the right place or thinking how to best capture the moment. I learnt a lesson, know what is important to the hosts of the event. By asking them you find out areas to concentrate on e.g. the food, certain people, a certain activity during the event. If you don’t ask, you don’t know which could lead to disappointment! There is a similarity here with tech teams – do you know what is important… Continue reading

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We all have needs and many of these are unique, this is what makes working with people intriguing. Some needs are obvious, others are closely guarded secrets, and more we don’t even know ourselves! As leader’s we have to make every effort to understand the needs of the people in our teams and adjust our approach to meet those needs. I will use Autism and ADHD as an example here as I’ve had a steep learning curve in this area over the last couple of years. These could be considered quite extreme needs compared to others but we can still approach these in a similar way.

The first challenge is recognising there is a need! For those who are not open about their needs, we have to spot them, which makes observation key. Is someone acting out of character? Are you seeing unexpected responses to questions? Is anyone uncomfortable in… Continue reading

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The desire to praise people or teams should be firmly rooted in the mind of every leader. When someone does good work or puts extra effort in for the team it feels natural to praise them for it. I wouldn’t want anyone to think their effort has gone unnoticed. HBR’s blog – The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Be a Great Boss – focuses on recognising great work. Their survey results show giving praise improves the “Boss-Employee” relationship, boosts morale, and improves job satisfaction. I couldn’t agree more and believe that giving praise in part of what makes teams stronger. That was until…

…I came across the following while reading Lean Enterprise (p222):

Dweck’s work shows that if we reward people for the effort they put into solving problems that they find challenging, it shifts them towards a growth mindset. If, in contrast we praise and reward people for… Continue reading

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We obviously know who our team is, but do we really know each person?! Each person is unique, each has their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. To get the best out of someone you need to understand them well enough. This takes time but it also takes thought with seeking the right information. Having that deeper knowledge not only strengthens the relationship, it means you have the insight to make decisions for the benefit of individuals and the team.

In a previous blog – taking notes during a one-on-one – I mentioned capturing notes from these one-on-ones into a draft email. This I still do, but there is more in this email that helps me get to know each person. As well as the regular notes I take I aim to out more about them using these subjects: Mobile, Family, Birthday, Lives, Likes, What is truly important, Favourite… Continue reading

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Your first one-on-one with someone is important! You may already know the person well or not, either way, this is where your new working relationship begins – let’s make a good impression! This first one-on-one would usually happen in the first couple of days of them starting, if not on day one! The typical agenda is to go through all the processes they need to follow, but is that really going to show them how fun your place is to work?!

Starting a new job should be an exciting time, of course, there are the usual formalities like HR forms, learning where the fire escapes are, etc. if these aren’t dull enough we don’t want to add to that in our first one-on-one!

You want them to feel energised and eager to work with the team. The first one-on-one can set this tone if done in the right way. This… Continue reading

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We get to the end of the summer and think that went fast, or see a past memory on Facebook and remember it as yesterday although it was many years ago. Life has a habit of doing this! When we take a break and reflect, get the online photo albums out, we escape from the now as the memories come flooding back. Work can be like this…how often do you give yourself time to reflect?

Work life is busy, the frenetic pace rarely gives us time to stop. Different things on the go at once means that habits die hard, in order to get stuff done we do it how we know. And this works! The todo list gets smaller…for a brief time…and everyone is happy – we hope!

Many people like the fast pace, it keeps them engaged, but there needs to be time to look back and see… Continue reading