1 on 1 Meeting Questions for a New Manager

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You just became a new manager and are starting to schedule 1 on 1 meetings with your team. Congratulations! 1 on 1 meetings are extremely important for beginning to establish a relationship with your employees and for earning trust. But what should you talk about? Candid can help you figure that out.

Office desk with laptop and coffee mug.

Start Simple: Build Rapport

When establishing a new relationship with your employees it’s important to start simple. You may get through all, some, or none of your questions. The important part is to not make the 1 on 1 feel forced. As a new manager, having the right 1 on 1 questions to ask is of the utmost importance.

To build a rapport with your employee, make sure the conversation is centered around them.

  1. How are you feeling? or How’s it going? – This is a simple question but it can help lead you down a bunch of different paths that you may never have taken if you stayed in the well-marked path.
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you at work? – This question is great because of the follow up “why?” question. If the person is a 1, this will set off red flags and hopefully allow you to bring them back in a positive direction. If they are a 10, it would be great to find our why so you can help your other employees feel this way as well.

A lot of people will suggest asking directly about family, friends, or personal life. I try to let those things come up more organically, mainly because you don’t know a person’s life outside of work. The question could easily backfire and make the person you are asking feel uncomfortable.

Be a Resource

As a manager your job is to help remove blockers from your team so that they can get on with the important job of actually doing the work. If they need help, help them. If they need to be left alone, run interference for them. Candid has a bank of questions that can help you be a great resource for your team.

  1. What can I do as your manager to make your work easier? – The answer to this question can almost be converted directly into actionable items for you. If your employee has something specific, do your best to accommodate them.
  2. What are the biggest time wasters for you each week? – This is your opportunity to help your employees and team be more efficient. It could be something as simple and removing unnecessary meetings from their calendar so they can focus better.

Understand the Team

Your employee likely spends the vast majority of their time interacting with and working with their team. Understanding the relationship they have with their team is key to helping them stay happy.

  1. What do you like most about working on your team? Least? – This question is a good way to get broad understanding about the health of your team. If two or more of your employees mention the same thing (for least like) it is very likely a sentiment shared by the entire team and needs to be addressed.
  2. Do you feel that the team is working at a sustainable pace? – Burnout is real. Knowing about it is the first step towards fixing it.
  3. Is there anyone on the team you have trouble working with? – Know about the interpersonal relationships on the team will help you navigate solutions to problems as they come up.

More Questions for New Managers

There are a lot more questions you could ask your employees as a new manager, but starting simple and slowly building a rapport feels a lot more sincere than just firing off 100 questions during your first 1:1.

If you’re at the point where more questions would be helpful, sign up for Candid.work. You can track answers to questions, action items, and search past 1 on 1’s for information.

Candid.work is the best place for a new manager to become a better manager.

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