5 minute read

A Manager's Guide to Effective 1-1s

When you're a first-time manager, it can be difficult to know where to begin. All of a sudden you're responsible for everything, and you don't want to mess up. There are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success. One of the most important things you can do is establish 1-on-1s with each of your team members. You will gain a deeper understanding of their work and they will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

What's even better? It's easy! Here are a few tips for setting up effective 1-1s.

1. 1-1s should be scheduled regularly

If you want 1-1s to be effective, you need to make sure they're happening regularly. That means setting aside time each week, two weeks, or month for them and sticking to it. This will show your team that you're committed to them and their progress, and it will give them something to look forward to.

2. They should be used to build relationships with employees

1-1s are a great opportunity to build relationships with your team members. You can get to know them on a personal level, and they can get to know you as well. This will help create a more open and trusting relationship, which is essential for effective communication.

3. Managers need to be good listeners

One of the most important aspects of 1-1s is that managers need to be good listeners.

This is a time for employees to share their thoughts and concerns, and managers need to be open to what they have to say. As a manager, you need to build psychological safety, which will allow your team to feel comfortable sharing with you.

4. Managers should ask open-ended questions

To get the most out of 1-1s, managers should ask open-ended questions. This will encourage your team to share more than just yes or no answers. It also invites them to think through a situation, process it, and potentially come to their own solution with your help, as a coach.

Asking open-ended questions is a skill that can be developed with practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become. And the better your 1-1s will be as a result!

5. 1-1s provide an opportunity for managers to give employees feedback

1-1s provide a great opportunity to give feedback, both positive and negative. This feedback should be specific, objective, and actionable. It's also important to remember that feedback is a two-way street. That means you should be open to receiving feedback from your team members as well.

Giving and receiving feedback can be difficult, but it's essential for a healthy and productive team.

6. Feedback should be specific and actionable

When giving feedback, it's important to be specific. This means identifying what the issue is and why it's a problem. For example, rather than saying "you're doing a great job," try "I appreciate the way you handled that difficult customer, remaining calm when they were getting annoyed."

It's also important to make sure your feedback is actionable. That means it should be something the person can actually do something about. For example, "you're doing a great job" is not actionable, but "I appreciate the way you handled that difficult customer, remaining calm when they were getting annoyed." is. Next time they're faced with the same situation, they'll remember it and try to do it again.


If you want to be a successful first-time manager, one of the best things you can do is set up 1-1s with your team members. Luckily for you, we’ve built Waggle as the perfect tool for doing just that. With Waggle, you can easily schedule and keep track of your 1-1s so that you can focus on building those relationships and becoming a better leader.

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