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Nico Riedmann
Nico Riedmann

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Team Leadership Toolkit: Two types of 1:1s

A lot of great things have been written about 1:1s and giving feedback so if you want more, see the links at the end of this post!

As you start having 1:1s with your team it can be difficult to decide on what exactly you should do in these meetings and how often to have them. Depending on your company there might be guidelines but they may be focusing on performance feedback and yearly review cycles.

To me, there are two distinct types of 1:1 meetings you should have:

A frequent and short 1:1

  • ~30 minutes on a 1-4 week cadence. (Start with a high frequency and reduce if it makes sense for both.)
  • This is short-term and tactical - how is your team member doing and what do they need day-to-day?
  • This is a space to give and get feedback and guidance, bring up anything else and get to know each other personally.
  • This applies to both of you! This is the perfect place to ask for feedback on your leadership.
  • Jointly own the agenda and possible notes in a privately shared place. (The image shows you a page structure I use for this.)

A less frequent conversation on career development

  • This one's probably defined by your company in some form.
  • This is long-term and strategic - how is your team member fulfilling expectations, where do they want to go and how can you get there?
  • This is the place to look back and discuss feedback, achievements, etc. as well as look forward and discuss goals, opportunities and how to get there.

Neither of these replaces giving feedback in a timely manner (don't wait for a 1:1 in three weeks to give feedback!) or looking at team-wide needs and improvements in retrospectives.

1:1 overview

Further reading:

The 'team leadership toolkit' is a series of bite-sized articles on techniques I find helpful as a software engineering team lead.

Having shared most of this with peers and mentees in an unstructured way, I've started this to concisely describe the What, Why and How of things that work for me and might be helpful for others.

What about you? What's in your 'leadership toolkit'?
I'd love to hear your comments or posts!

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