Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: What do you talk about in 1-on-1s with your managers?
374 points by gofreddygo on Jan 10, 2023 | hide | past | favorite | 271 comments
In BigCo for 6 months. Running out of things to talk about meaningfully in weekly one-on-one meetings with my manager.

I see it as a good opportunity where I get full attention. I don't want to just keep blowing my trumpet, or just complaining.

A week isn't enough time to get things done and 30 mins is not enough for deep dives.

Curious about how others have leveraged their time with the ones responsible for your promotions.

Edit: Just to add, I am fortunate to have a good manager, not complaining one bit. I'm trying to make some effort to make it worth our time.

In brief:

1. What worries you? Not some blatant project stuff but bigger deal issues. "How do I learn enough here to make a lot more money in a few years" or "I don't understand how our product is going to make money in this environment". Stuff like that is probably on your mind in some way (unless you are an unthinking dolt, but you wouldn't be asking this if you were) - get it out there and gain perspective.

2. Blind spots. You know how everyone in your life has some stupid thing that holds them back that they are oblivious to but is obvious to everyone else? You have it too. Find a way to convince your manager that you can tolerate real feedback and ask them about this. It will make your life better way beyond work.

3. Find out what worries them. Maybe in some way you can help them deal with stuff "beyond your pay grade" - your pay grade will eventually have to catch up :)

4. This should have been number one - get to know them as a person and help them get to know you.

Good luck. Doing any of these will put you on an exponential growth pattern compared to others.

I've had the same experience with my manager:

1. Meta-level discussions/sounding board on what I'm currently chewing on as it relates to my job. ex: "I came across a discussion that I observed with my mentor (at a past job) and his peer. I saw that my mentor was prone providing harmful/useless-speculation when critiquing someone's project. It made me reflect on how I $HABIT_A, $HABIT_B, and $HABIT_C in my interactions; I want to change it." This point is dependent on your relationship with your manager and whether or not they have the patience to listen to this type of navel gazing. I've been fortunate enough to have managers that don't mind this.

2. Pain points. This is what good managers typically want to hear. They want to hear what is keeping you from performing your job to the fullest. Is there anything that they can head off for you. Is there anything that they can take off your plate (or put more of, on) to help?

3. Getting to know them better. As a reporter to my manager I work on trying to bring up little things. It's smalltalk, but moves mountains in terms of breaking the forms and molds of manager/reporter relationships. One of my managers has a daughter in soccer, and mine is as well. We talk about soccer and the best way to stay warm during the practices. Little things.

As an engineering manager: yes to all of these.

When I 1-1 with my reports I’m looking to see where their mind is this week and what they’re struggling with, so I can figure out how I can help them.

The small talk is more important than many people give it credit for. Finding common ground and having a mutually friendly relationship makes the above conversations so much easier on both of us. We’re both more comfortable and more willing to be transparent and genuine.

Never got a good answer to the “lot more” money question. The real answer is usually “not here, because we got you ha ha, unless you have a title bump”. Salary in increases are normal but a 50% bump seems to require changing jobs and probably country.

Just got 2.7% for my title bump. Hurray.

As a hack on this, when negotiating to join a company, you generally want to be at {highest title} + {lowest on pay band for that title}.

Sometimes specific title requirements preclude this (e.g. "We don't give new people X title immediately"), but it's a good rule of thumb.

It makes yearly pay bumps much easier for your manager to justify ("So-and-so is well within salary ranges for their title"), versus them having to fight for an exception to policy.

Why not {highest title} + {highest on pay band for that title}? Why not make more money earlier?

The suggestion would be something to do after the pay is already negotiated. You’d want to leave as much room to grow as possible - both money wise as well as your title.

> {highest title} + {lowest on pay band for that title}.

People would find out about this and would leave resenting that they are underpaid.

Not sure you're understanding the point: it's something you, as the employee, request when you're negotiating being hired.

Your hiring manager usually doesn't care, as long as there aren't any req:title limitation issues, because it attracts you and generates less paperwork on their side.

That might be less than I’ve ever (~10yoe) gotten without a title bump… ouch.

Most American thing I read today. Wish my manager would talk about how to help me make more money and what to do to improve. Don't know about you but all my managers in EU just talk lame work stuff and actively avoid any pay related issues and improvement points.

worked both in US and EU, same.

One thing.

Reserve the right for both of you to end 1:1’s early.

Once you remove that expectation, you’ll get a lot more out of it. All of the advice in this thread is great too.

Also add where you want to be career-wise so that they can support you in this.

What people want their career to be is often immature. It takes wisdom and experience to figure out what you should want. So coming into the conversation with that is limiting.

I'd rather get the manager to be a partner in helping me figure out what I should want.

IMO it's ok if the initial answer to "where do you want to be in X years" is a shrug of the shoulders. Defining that can be important but that doesn't mean it has to be solely on the employee to define. Good leaders will help their people answer that question and help them grow. This is why a regular check-in/1:1 is important.

On a number of occasions that I was asked this question, I replied with a question of my own: "where _can_ I be in X years in this company?" Unfortunately, I never received a reply even remotely close to a satisfactory. Satisfactory answers would include opportunities and directions, with big bonus points for an attempt to find overlaps with my general desires, motivation, and strengths.

That's a great question to ask! And now you've got me thinking of my answer to that question for my direct reports.

I will say that there does have to be some "meet in the middle" with this entire exchange. If my directs aren't interested in 1:1s, the meeting won't be effective.

Then you should talk about how you you need help coming up with a plan!

If I was your manager, I’d tell you that while your problem about setting career goals is real, your framing of the problem as something I the manager should tell you what your goal is is backwards. I’m not living your life, you are. The path of least resistance for me is to let you stagnate right where you are and then tell you you’re perfectly happy if I wanted to gaslight you, but then I’d be a shitty manager.

What I should do is tease out shat motivates you and how that aligns to what we need as an org, not just my team. I may not be able to give you want you want, but I can help put you on that path.

Seriously, if you need mentorship, reach out. I’m easy to find.

No, what young developers (possibly other employees too) really want is not to be asked what they want to do, they want to be told what they would be good at.

They don’t know! I didn’t when I was a young dev; still don’t if I’m honest. And for years all I ever really wanted a manager to say was ‘here’s a pathway I could see you going down’.

If there is one thing mentors and managers can usefully do it is to stop asking stuff like ‘what motivates you?’ and start saying ‘you might be good at X’

I don’t see how any of this is different from what I said.

What do you want to become? Tell me your goals. Let's help you make a plan.

All very empowering manager buddy stuff.

To a junior developer, sitting across the table, it all sounds like

I can't do anything for you. If you don't know what you want to do, you're a failure. I don't even know what you do here.

What I want to hear from a manager who understands me:

Here are the pathways open to you. Here's where I see you fitting in. Here's what you could be doing in a few years. Here's what I'd like to see you achieve.

> What people want their career to be is often immature. It takes wisdom and experience to figure out what you should want. So coming into the conversation with that is limiting.

Maturity comes through experience, including talking to others about their experience. Some candid or honest appraisals, insights, and anecdotes from bosses are useful for that.

Watching a previous boss lose their mind taking care of boardroom struggles and powerplays convinced me to stay out of management -- for the better. I'd have never built that career path without discussing it with him, extensively.

Very generic answer IMO. In practice, it gets pretty tiring and boring to talk about it after couple of meetings with manager and bringing it up in every weekly 1:1 will have your manager avoid/cancel meetings with you. I tried following this generic advice and noticed it hurts more than it does good.

Talk about where you want to get to career wise. Develop a plan with them to get you there. Say you want to move from eng 3 to senior eng in the next 2 years. Great! What skills do you need to develop to operate independently at a senior level by then? How can you work with your manager to ensure you're getting right-sized projects to develop then demonstrate those skills?

What's coming down the pipeline next quarter that you can try to claim instead of having it go by default to a more senior member on the team? Can you pair with them on that work if you aren't yet ready to do it on your own? Seniors are often looking for mentorship and teaching opportunities as those are skills they need to develop to make it to Manager or Staff if they're interested in continuing to advance their own careers.

If your manager is blowing off your 1:1s, your manager sucks.

One of my worst managers blew off 1:1s with all of his reports for months. Being naïve, I didn’t even raise this with his manager. I should have.

I’ll say this about him. His skill at managing up was inversely proportional to his skill at managing down.

If you're finding that your 1:1's are increasingly useless, consider spacing them out more. Ask to meet every other week or monthly. Set an agenda with things to talk about that are important to the role. Additionally, setting hard time limits will condense it to what matters. Start with 30m every other week, move to 15 or monthly if it still isn't useful.

Lol so talking about (1) what you actually care about (2) deep blockers to performance (3) what your manager most cares about and (4) human connection is "boring". What do you talk about that's more interesting? Compiler warnings?

Blind spots is a really good suggestion. I'm going to use that during my next 1:1. :)

These have always been an enormous waste of time from my perspective. They only serve to make a manager feel like they know what everyone is doing, all the time. Anything process-wise should be handled through scrum. Anything personal can be handled with ad-hoc 1-on-1 meetings as needed, but should be pretty rare. 1-on-1s for process really do harm to transparency and accountability. If I had a nickel for every time I've been given tasks or been "re-oriented" in a 1-on-1, outside of scheduled work...

> They only serve to make a manager feel like they know what everyone is doing, all the time

This is a cynical view of 1:1 time. I've always felt like a 1:1 is a time to bond with my manager, and look out for my own needs so I can make the most of my career.

Today I am a manager and I can hand on heart say I am at the service of the people I support. I am not telling them how to spend their time, I am not trying to know everything they are doing, I am there to listen, assist, and fill in organizational gaps to keep things moving and keep ICs unblocked.

Engineers are smart people perfectly capable of outthinking me, they are relied on for keeping their own work on track but to ask for help (maybe in a 1:1!) when they need it.

My work is done when everyone is happy and productive, 1:1s help me do my job and my job is to provide support, advice, consultation, and communication between the business and my team. I don't know how I could possibly make sure everyone has what they need, is working toward goals they care about, feel valued and heard, without regular 1:1s. If I were an IC and my manager didn't check in with me regularly I would not feel like I was part of something, managers help glue teams together because no one else on the team is going to do that.

With a good boss, the 1:1 is a time to catch up with someone who is playing a different role in helping achieve the team's goals.

With a bad boss, the 1:1 is a regular compulsory reminder of who is the boss, and gives the boss something to do.

As a counterpoint, my experience has been that having a recurring 1:1 on some cadence makes it feel less weird to flag an issue. If somebody has to block out an adhoc meeting to raise a concern, it feels like a bigger deal. That won’t stop all people or all issues, but it does set a higher bar and that means some conversations won’t clear it.

My 1:1s are not all on the same cadence, and some of them end up spending more time on general rambling than others, but it means that there’s a known space where people who report to me know they have my time and can just bring up whatever. Notably, I do not use 1:1 time to ask tactical questions about projects that are ongoing, there’s other existing channels for project status tracking.

"As a counterpoint, my experience has been that having a recurring 1:1 on some cadence makes it feel less weird to flag an issue."

Agree with this completely, and is something I always introduce straight away with my team.

If someone stops me in the corridor / sends a slack to say "Jim's tapping drives me nuts" (as a lame example), then it's now a big thing. I have to stop what I'm doing to establish how much of a problem it actually is, and how soon I need to deal with the issue. It takes a lot to interrupt someone for something that potentially is a small, yet personally important thing, so people are less inclined to do it.

If instead, at the end of a regular scheduled one on one, as we're winding down, at the inevitable "anything else" stage, someone mentions "oh, yeah, small thing, but Jim's tapping drives me nuts", then we can discuss and establish a path forward in an open environment. Invariably they feel listened to, we can decide a way to approach the issue, and it's far less dramatic.

> As a counterpoint, my experience has been that having a recurring 1:1 on some cadence makes it feel less weird to flag an issue. If somebody has to block out an adhoc meeting to raise a concern, it feels like a bigger deal. That won’t stop all people or all issues, but it does set a higher bar and that means some conversations won’t clear it.

I think this is a significant part of the 1-on-1: to catch problems when they're small / solvable, rather than only recognising the problem when it's beyond the point of repair.

A "just raise the problem if you have it" only works if people have high psychological safety.

Though, if in the 1-on-1 the reportee doesn't feel confident raising issues/concerns (or aspirations), then I'd agree the 1-on-1 is useless.

Yeah. 1:1s should be a bit more like office hours. This is where you can deal with priory as individuals outside of a project. There’s nothing wrong with making it a bit of a high level status update, especially if your manager isn’t attending certain project meetings, but it should be more about resource management. Explain pain points, and that sort of thing. It can also be a place to drill down on topics that got brought up in the larger team meeting as well.

When I run 1:1s I end up scheduling them for 45 minutes, but target them for ~25-30 minutes. The extra time is there for when we need to go long without forcing a hard stop too quickly.

I'm a manager running two teams right now. The way I run my 1:1s I try and keep status updates out of them as much as possible. Like you said, "here's what I'm working on" type updates should be handled by Scrum. I still run 1:1s every two weeks with each one of my direct reports for a few reasons:

- There are some people who just won't speak up or request an ad-hoc 1-on-1 if something is wrong. It's just a personality thing. I can use this time to ask them about things and try and get them to open up. I have two people on my team where the world could be on fire and if I asked them how things were going they'd say "fine". Direct 1:1 time with them is super valuable for me to dig in a bit. - Especially now that we're remote 1:1s allow for us to handle a lot of little things that aren't super important all at once. "I don't understand how to submit and expense report even though I read the documentation". It doesn't make sense to have a specific meeting for that since it's going to take 5 minutes, let's just tackle it in the 1:1. - As my team has gotten bigger, a lot of my information starts to come through the same few people. I rely heavily on my project leads for updates which means everything is filtered through them. 1:1s give me a chance to hear other people's opinions on things without them being filtered. - I use this time to discuss career and personal goals. "What do you want to work on next?", "Here's a plan to line you up for a promotion next year". - I'm never going to force to chit chat about our lives if they don't want to, but I have multiple people on my team who want to have some sort of connection to the people they work with. There are some people who half our 1:1 is talking about travel or sports.

Honestly, my philosophy is our 1:1 is your (direct reports) time. You provide the agenda and you tell me what you need. If you want to cancel it every time, that's fine. If you want to spend 30 minutes talking about our weekends, that's also fine.

> If you want to cancel it every time, that's fine

I would amend this to "If they want to cancel it every time, that's fine".

I personally think its best to keep 1-1 availability as consistent as possible. Always be available to spend the time and avoid last minute changes to the meeting. The time is an opportunity for the direct report as well. If they want to cancel, that is fine. Same with whether they want to use the whole slot or only 5 minutes. Cancellations and changes from the manager side may throw plans askew since reports might be hanging onto something to unleash during the time.

Yep, sorry that's that I meant. Having managers who randomly moved or canceled 1:1s in the past, it's a major pet peeve of mine when managers just unilaterally cancel. Personally, I try to never cancel, but if my report wants to cancel, we'll it's their meeting and I get half an hour back :).

> ask them about things and try and get them to open up.

What kind of things do you ask them. wondering if you have some examples. Trying to get some ideas.

Do not ask. All you’ll get is “fine” or “alright”.

You have to open up first. Share what you’re comfortable with sharing. If you don’t share and make yourself vulnerable first, they will never open up. You have lower the risk for them.

Once you have established that rapport, then they’ll do it. Your report will mimic you based on how you run the meeting. It also has the advantage of making hard conversations easier.

It's hard for me to explain, getting people to open up is kind of something I've always been good at, but I think the best advice I can give is to be curious, a bit venerable, and ask open ended questions. Another trick I like is to kind of put words in their mouth and let them correct me (kind of like Cunningham's Law - https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cunningham%27s_Law)

So for example a conversation may go like this:


Me: Hey, so you've been on project X for a month now. How are you feeling about it?

Report: It's good.

Me: I know this is the first time you're using Y technology. Are you finding the ramp up easy?

Report: Yeah. It's not too bad.

Me: That's great! I remember when I was working in that codebase it took me forever to understand Z component. What did you think of that?

Report: Oh, yeah. I worked in there, it was fine.

Me: Just fine? Is there anything we could do to make it easier for the next person we onboard?

Report: No, I don't think so.

Me: Oh, okay. Well I know Team Lead was looking into refactoring that code and updating the docs and she was looking for suggestions. If you're saying the component is good as it is, I might tell her that we should delay that until later this year.

Report: Well actually...


Basically first I tried to relate to them a bit and share my experience. My hope is that if they are worried about looking dumb or incompetent in front of their peers, this defuses that

Second, I tried to ask something open ended. If they're just kind of on auto pilot, asking something that can't be answered with a yes/no answer can help shake them out of that.

Third, I put words in their mouth and just labeled them with an opinion they might or might not have. I don't love this one because it can feel a little manipulative, but I'm trying to get them to take a position and understand the consequences of not taking a position. It's kind of the equivalent of sending an email saying "I'm going to do X unless you tell me not to". At this point, either they agree with what you said and you can hold them to that or they have to give you an alternate opinion. Again, not my favorite tactic so I only use it on things that matter, but it works really well.

Another way of approaching that third attempt that feels a little less manipulative is "From my perspective it looks like XYZ. What do you think about that?"

I am reminded of:

> One story has it that when Seymour Cray was asked by management to provide detailed one-year and five-year plans for his next machine, he simply wrote, "Five-year goal: Build the biggest computer in the world. One year goal: One-fifth of the above." And another time, when expected to write a multi-page detailed status report for the company executives, Cray's two sentence report read: "Activity is progressing satisfactorily as outlined under the June plan. There have been no significant changes or deviations from the June plan."

Its sad, but it sounds like you have had bad managers.

I myself am a mid-level manager. I have 1x1s with my employees. I also have 1x1 with my manager (the CTO).

I personally look forward to my 1x1 with my manager, the CTO, each week. I find them very useful. Without them we always meet in the context of other projects and often around other people. Having dedicated time to talk one-on-one is very nice.

I know that my employees enjoy one-on-ones with me, because by default I generally only schedule them biweekly (every-other-week). But many of my employees go over on time each meeting and many of them request meeting weekly.

We discuss goals, difficulties, challenges, successes, and often even personal things (only when provoked by the employee, I never ask personal questions or personal topics myself). The 1 on 1 meetings are the best true barometer for how an employee is doing. Some employees might be overwhelmed, but don't show it in other meetings. 1 on 1 meetings give me an idea for how they are truly feeling. I might even invite them for time off (we have unlimited PTO) when hearing things in 1x1s.

A bad manager might make 1x1s worthless. If that's the case you should look at other teams or companies. Life is too short to work under bad managers.

You make it sound like bad managers are rare. Changing teams or companies does not guarantee finding a good manager.

> They only serve to make a manager feel like they know what everyone is doing, all the time.

As a manager, I DESPISED doing 1v1s at my old company. We don't do them at my new company. It's an incredible waste of time. Create a culture that allows employees to come to you when THEY need to. If this isn't within the realm of possibility, at least make 1v1s optional for employees that just don't have anything to discuss every 1-2 weeks. Some people just like to do their jobs and get paid. As a manager, you should be able to see what your people are working on. If you have questions about it, ask them. But for the love of god, don't schedule a recurring meeting just so they can tell you things that are easily gleaned by reading a git commit.

The employee not thinking there's something to talk about doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about. A good people-person manager can get the employee to bring up things they otherwise wouldn't think of.

What does this have to do with my comment? I never said don’t talk to your employees ever. A recurring 1v1 where you have to poke and prod information out of a subordinate is not constructive. If you have concerns, bring them up when they happen. No need to pull teeth every few weeks just to make yourself feel better as a manager.

The issue is that not everyone is comfortable bringing up issues as they happen. Some people may not recognize issues. Others may avoid mention until a problem grows larger. Regular 1-1s make this much easier to catch and give direct reports a great opportunity to share.

Some people will say that this isn't required with a good company culture, but when people are involved nothing is perfect. Maintaining positive culture requires work. Recurring 1-1s are the bread and butter of management and in my experience the work pays off by staying ahead of things and preventing minor issues from turning into major issues.

If you need to "poke and prod" your "subordinate", I don't know if you're someone I'd like to work with. The whole feel of your text gives me the vibe of an 80's cop show interrogation and you're the cop who's about to retire and doesn't care.

When I did 1:1's I had lunch (on the company's dime) with the team member. If they wanted to bring up something work related, that was their opportunity. I might bring up some general news about the team or company if I wanted their comments on it without a crowd around. Some asked for raises, brought up need for new training or interest in another kind of task within the company. With some we just chatted about video games and whatever for the duration.

The point is to accommodate people who are not comfortable contacting you directly about issues or feel that they can bring them up in a group. When you have a regular routine meeting with them that has no real set agenda, they know that in the next two weeks they'll have an opportunity to bring any issues to you in an informal setting.

Yes, the dream team is one that can just raise their hand and bring up any issue at any time, either in private or in public. But those teams need to be grown and the trust needs to be there. Nobody wants to be ridiculed for saying bringing something up in public.

> If you need to "poke and prod" your "subordinate"

This was my interpretation of the comment I was replying to. Here's what they wrote "A good people-person manager can get the employee to bring up things they otherwise wouldn't think of.". To me, that's a nice way of saying poke and prod. I'm not advocating for that.

> When I did 1:1's I had lunch (on the company's dime) with the team member. If they wanted to bring up something work related, that was their opportunity. I might bring up some general news about the team or company if I wanted their comments on it without a crowd around. Some asked for raises, brought up need for new training or interest in another kind of task within the company. With some we just chatted about video games and whatever for the duration.

That sounds fine to me, but why schedule a recurring meeting to do this? I'm not against meeting up with people and shooting the shit. I'm not against bringing up and discussing issues. I'm not against helping someone grow and flourish in their career. What I'm saying is that 1v1s are a horrible way to do any of those things. Recurring meetings in general are a horrible way to get anything constructive done. My suggestion is to be more proactive in how you manage. Don't wait for a 1v1 to discuss things. It's the same for all-hands. I despise all-hands meetings with a passion. It's a horribly inefficient way of setting company-wide expectations, doing an announcement, or whatever it is executive teams use all-hands for now.

> The point is to accommodate people who are not comfortable contacting you directly about issues or feel that they can bring them up in a group. When you have a regular routine meeting with them that has no real set agenda, they know that in the next two weeks they'll have an opportunity to bring any issues to you in an informal setting.

This is incredibly easily solved by having open office hours. It achieves the same goal without the stress inducing event sitting on the employee's calendar for them to worry about hours before and after the meeting.

I think the reason why I've found 1:1's so effective is because of the recurring schedule. We're all busy people, and having a structured time to sit down and talk about things helps, even when we don't think it will initially. Yes, bringing up and resolving issues in real time is still key, but there are always things that slip because we have more pressing concerns or we just never found the right time to discuss the issue.

It's like having regular meetings with a mentor, coach, or even a counsellor. I find these meetings to be very useful because the discussion inevitably leads to revelations that I would otherwise not have thought of. Could they have been discovered ad-hoc? Some of them, maybe. But it would be a coin toss with the hundreds of other distractions and responsibilities tugging us from every direction. Even with my spouse, I've found that having regular meetings where we sit down and really talk about things has been extremely helpful.

That being said, everyone runs 1:1s differently and I've been on some really bad 1:1s that had no value or always ended with a negative, bitter taste in my mouth. I use it as an opportunity to connect personally and to provide coaching and mentoring towards their goals, especially when they align with company goals. I then poke and prod in a way to really get at what the other person is thinking and feeling, what they are struggling with, and ultimately what the root cause of the problems are. The key in my mind is to surface issues that would otherwise not be discussed, and normalize it. I then work diligently with them to make sure we're addressing those issues, and if I have action items to report back to them on how I've been able to make progress. 1:1s are definitely not the only way of approaching this, but the one I've found the most effective.

Granted, some individuals are very vocal and constantly raise and discuss issues outside of the 1:1s to the point where we don't need them as frequently. For them I just push out the schedule more and have them less frequently, or we just use the extra time to again, build that relationship.

I’m being absolutely serious.

If you’re poking and prodding, you’re doing 1:1s wrong. You should talk to your manager or HR about how to run effective 1:1s. If these resources aren’t available, you need to reach out to others managers at the company or in the community.

Lastly, this doesn’t imply that it’s a sign of desperation, but reach out to your reports. Ask them if they think the meetings are effective, and raise your concerns. They’re an equal partner in this meeting, and should be for their benefit just as much, if not more than your benefit.

Honestly, given your comment, “But for the love of god, don't schedule a recurring meeting just so they can tell you things that are easily gleaned by reading a git commit.” tells me that you don’t actually understand what an effective 1:1, nor team meeting is. If you’re stuck a dramatic reading of the status reports, you failed to set the expectations of the meeting, and should learn how to run effective meeting. There are literal books written about this.

Reach out if you need help.

> If you’re poking and prodding, you’re doing 1:1s wrong. You should talk to your manager or HR about how to run effective 1:1s. If these resources aren’t available, you need to reach out to others managers at the company or in the community.

You're misrepresenting what I said, and are being disingenuous. See my comment here → https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34332925 - I was not advocating for poking or prodding.

> Lastly, this doesn’t imply that it’s a sign of desperation, but reach out to your reports. Ask them if they think the meetings are effective, and raise your concerns. They’re an equal partner in this meeting, and should be for their benefit just as much, if not more than your benefit.

Thanks for the incredibly obvious advice.

> Honestly, given your comment, “But for the love of god, don't schedule a recurring meeting just so they can tell you things that are easily gleaned by reading a git commit.” tells me that you don’t actually understand what an effective 1:1, nor team meeting is. If you’re stuck a dramatic reading of the status reports, you failed to set the expectations of the meeting, and should learn how to run effective meeting. There are literal books written about this.

I'm being absolutely serious. I do not believe effective meetings exist. At least not how meetings are typically defined in the modern workplace. They are solely for the purpose of creating the illusion of work. I've read many literal books on the topic, and believe them all to be mostly trash.

sometimes people have problems that they don’t know they are problems, in repeated conversations it just comes out

as manager you got to smell it out. 1-1s are great for that.

I laughed a bit when you wrote "1v1" because it made me think of a video game where you're matched with a suitably leveled enemy player. (I don't know how others pronounce "1:1" but I pronounce it "1 on 1").

I read it as 'one to one', like a ratio. Also one person talking to one other.

Interesting though, and now you say it I realise the submitter also wrote '1-on-1s'.

> Create a culture that allows employees to come to you when THEY need to.

This is great advice in general but regular 1v1s give you a forum to proactively ask employees how things are going, which can help you detect problems quieter employees are having that they might not be willing to raise themselves. Some people are conditioned not to complain, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're happy.

"They only serve to make a manager feel like they know what everyone is doing, all the time."

As a manager it is critically important that I have a sense of what my staff is doing. New assignments come in all the time that require quick turnaround. I need to know who on my staff is available for such projects.

As a manager how can you not know what your staff is doing at any given time? I've worked in some places where developers chose their own stories but we had morning standups to communicate what we were working on.

We don't have morning standups. Why is a 1:1 a waste of time, but a morning standup isn't?

Yeah morning standups are not great either TBH but more efficient than a manager trying to gatekeep and broker information via 1:1s with each developer.

So having a standup every single day is more efficient than meeting once a week with your manager? You'd rather have to take time out every single day to hear other people talk about stuff that may have no relevance to what you do, rather than meet with your manager once a week - a meeting that might take only a few minutes if there turns out to be little to discuss?

OK, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that.

The point of a stand is for the team to synchronize and raise potential issues. If the team is small, cross-functional, and working in the same area, it has a lot of value. You seem to be looking at this from the perspective of "what can I, the manager, get out of this" instead of "what can the team get out of this."

That's laughable - my team does not want stand-ups and after I asked them many times whether they would like regular meetings, they suggested doing a team meeting every few weeks, so you have no idea how I am looking at this.

You opened this line of conversation with "As a manager it is critically important that I have a sense of what my staff is doing." Not "it's very important to my team that they have X process." I only know what you tell me.

If I have an issue blocking me now, yes it's more efficient to raise that at standup today with the group of people who might be able to help, than wait until next Thursday to discuss it 1:1 with the manager and then wait for the manger to find help for me.

But I'm not a huge fan of standups either, don't get me wrong. They aren't a great use of time, I just think they are better than weekly 1:1s to communicate things like "what I'm working on" or "what's blocking me."

If they're work has no relevance to yours, I don't think you're on the same logical team? You don't need cross team stand-ups unless you're working on a project together

For me, as a non-manager IC, I find it a complete waste of time. Unless I actually had an issue, but I'd rather not sit on an issue waiting for stand-up, and only would if it were close and I wanted to have something to say.

But managers, or at least the one that replied when I mentioned the above once, seem to like them, here what everyone's doing all at once ... Without having to read Jira titles themselves I suppose.

Perhaps ideal then would be some kind of Slack bot/app where everyone has to submit a quick video or voice clip once a day, and it queues them all up to play at whatever time the next day/stand-up period the manager wants the report.

That does sound like a waste of time, and my experience agrees with yours, that it's quite common. Which is too bad, because in my opinion, if a standup is a readout of work in progress, that's dysfunctional. A good standup is about identifying and resolving conflicts, dependencies and blockers, something that can be hard to do except as a group--it should not be a list of "what everyone's working on."

I just don't think that should wait for stand-up, even if they're daily. If you're blocked, mention it in the Slack channel or whatever we're using - someone can probably help; if not they know you need it. If a call is required, you can arrange that then with the relevant people, which may or may not be everyone.

Hear* I meant of course.

In some types of matrix orgs it makes sense as there is a distinction between project leadership and staff leadership.

- The staff/personnel manager is there for managing the engineers and getting their time allocated to projects. The 1:1s are for these managers to understand their engineers' skills, weaknesses, goals, and direction for growth/development so they can effectively allocate them.

- The team leads and project managers participate in standups so that the teams can effectively operate, work gets done, and project leadership knows what is happening.

The division makes sense when you have a lot of projects which may only be funded for parts of the year or where development isn't regular. Doubly so in industries which have a legal requirement for strong compartmentalization of knowledge & involvement. In these environments, your team leads, project managers, and standups will change like hats over the course of weeks, months, and years while you likely will only change personnel managers and 1:1s a few times over the course of a decade.

You should be able to know this through a defined engineering process, and the signals that this process produces (standups, ticket progress, etc). Regularly interrupting people to get status updates is not the way to do it.

1. I am not an engineer and this is not an engineering firm.

2. Why would 1:1 be a waste of time, but a standup isn't?

3. I am not "regularly interrupting people," this is a regularly scheduled 1:1. Why is that an interruption, but a standup isn't?

I agree with you on points 2 and 3 (I don't think a standup covers the same kind of thing as a 1:1 anyway, and as you point out, you're not interrupting people.

But to be fair on the first point, you were replying directly to someone who is (obviously), so it's a reasonable assumption.

However, even at that, long before I was involved in software development I still hated the redundant reporting of status and availability in repeated verbally or specially-prepared status reports. Do you really not have any system to track all of these work requests? To fit them into project plans using transparent and queryable project management tools? Do you wait to make assignments until you've had the week's 1:1 with everyone? How do requesters or other stakeholders know the status of requests--don't you track that?

Even if it's a spreadsheet with statuses and comments it still seems like this should be continuously updated, not once a week; and available to interested parties for transparency (so you don't have to have the meeting with your boss or other stakeholders where you imperfectly regurgitate what has already been said in 1:1s). Having one-on-one verbal conversations to repeat status and assignments at a snail's pace to each other, up and down the chain, is something I find very annoying.

I don't think 1:1s are a "waste of time", I just think it's a waste to do status reporting and work allocation using anything other than an agreed-upon tool. The tool might need to be reinforced by verbal meetings, depending on the employee, because different people need managed in different ways. So yeah, there are people who need to be told what to do and be reminded to use a tool, of course.

Which is why I think a 1:1 is the time do things differently depending on what each employee needs (since your group meetings are not individualized), and they should probably have the most influence in what you do in a 1:1. Some people need to talk about feelings. I like to use it as a brief social connection, to build social trust and rapport at work--for me, that's much more valuable than status updates. Others maybe need to review the work that they're doing.

Sorry, I assumed that you were part of tech. I only know about good processes for software development.

A 1:1 seems like a wildly inappropriate place to discern that information.

So I think this may be true for most, but as someone with awful workplace anxiety from shitty workplaces in the past it helps me tremendously to have touchpoints to hear that I'm doing ok and that my manager doesn't have any critiques/etc. This probably isn't the norm, so I think a middle ground of giving people the option to 1v1 makes sense.

I agree that process should be public, I disagree that personal 1-on-1s should be ad-hoc. The whole point is for feedback to be continuous, so if you're starting to fuck up, you get early warnings and a better chance of correcting course.

That has been my experience, at least, I am somewhat of an acquired taste, personality wise, and often unwillingly unaware of my effect on others, or bad habits I might slip into. Having regular 1-on-1s gives manager opportunity to give me early feedback.

It also gives me a regular chance to 1) ask for help with interpersonal things I struggle with and 2) get positive feedback, when I manage, to everyone's surprised, to not fuck things up.

All of that depends hugely on the manager, of course. If your manager is using this time to check on your regular work, or give you tasks ... there might not be hope for this job. Maybe you can talk to them, maybe to their boss, but it smells like just a bad culture, that you're better of leaving than trying to fix.

I agree with this. I came to loathe my weekly 1-on-1s because I felt they were just interrupting my work with a 30 minute “So… how has your week been?” chat. I got zero value from them, hopefully my manager got something. In the past I had a manager ask me if I wanted to do them and I said no, so we stopped doing them and it was awesome.

> ad-hoc 1-on-1 meetings as needed, but should be pretty rare.

That is exactly why ongoing meetings are important. If you only do rare ad-hoc meetings, you have established a relationship where you don't talk to your boss. Everything runs through processes, everything seems fine, you guys don't talk... until one day you need a talk and it is a big change to the status quo.

If you don't get value from regular 1:1s, fine - make them a 30 second pit stop of, "Everything is still fine, talk to you in 2 weeks". But you really should have that ongoing quick check so that you have an established point in time to change your answer and say, "We need to talk about X."

You’ve had some terrible managers. 1:1 should be your time…

Your 1:1's shouldn't be about your work and progress on a project. It should be about "you" and how you feel about your position in the team, the things that are bugging you, etc.

However, often, before you can have a meaningful conversation with your manager you need to have build some sort of relationship first. By having a scheduled based (e.g. every two weeks) 1:1's will allow you to create a report with your manager. You can talk about anything, doesn't have to be work, can be hobby etc. Try to find a common interest. Maybe you're both games or rock climbers. Whatever. The main point is that you create a relationship with your manager in which you feel that you can talk to this person.

I have 1:1's with my team members and often we just talk about what we did on the weekend. It's not the objective to drag your personal life into your work environment but its to create a meaningful trust relationship. Once that is established you can have a meaningful conversation that could lean more towards your feelings.

As a manager and/or team lead, one of the worst things is to have an unhappy person on your team.

Edit: PS, forgot to add. Its best that the manager you have 1:1's with is not a person who you work with on a day to day basis. I.e. not your project/team lead e.g. but someone unrelated to your daily efforts.

>They only serve to make a manager feel like they know what everyone is doing, all the time

A good manager should already know what the team is doing. And that shouldn't be the point of the 1-1.

As a manager I believe part of my job is to run interference for my team. It's better for me to be in a bunch of meetings than my team. But this also means I have a potentially crowded schedule. I have recurring bi-weekly 1-1s with each of my team members so they know that they are important as an individual and that I am guaranteeing them time with me every two weeks. This time is for them and about them. If we don't have anything to discuss we don't mee or sometimes it's only 5 minutes. But they know w that the time si there for them.

I use these meetings to see how they are doing, not what they are doing. How are you and your spouse doing with the new baby? How is your child's college search going? I think it's important to have an idea of where they are as a person to help understand how they are doing at work and how I might help make things better.

With ad-hoc meetings, people can be overly cautious: "maybe this is not that important", "maybe my manager is busy".

With periodic 1:1s, the manager has already allocated time to listen to you, so it's easier to talk about what's going on: sometimes it's important stuff, others not that much, but there's communication.

However, it can get bad if people wait for the 1:1s to address important which should be taken care of before.

I agree. There is a place for 1:1 meetings as needed but a standing weekly 1:1 is a "management smell" in my experience.

Yes, when they don’t want to have 1:1 it means they don’t want to give me their time. That’s not managing, that’s coasting.

DO you consider yourself an introvert by any chance?

Yes but I don't go to work to socialize with my manager. I go to make money for the business and me so that I can have a life outside of work.

Note: introversion != lack of social skills

Also: introversion != lack of motivation or overall perspective

I personally doubt introversion has much to do with the parent comment. Several bad leaders over time can easily jade a person's perspective towards their leadership, ESPECIALLY if they end up discussing daily operations during their 1-on-1 instead of the big picture.

Introversion doesn't necessarily imply a lack of social skills, but in my experience, that is typically the case. We are also on HN, whose commenters are not exactly known for the social acumen.

People sometimes use 1:1s as status updates. That’s a poor use of time. Most status updates can be done asynchronously via email or a myriad of tools.

The 1:1 should be for meaningful conversation. Get to know each other as people via casual conversations. A mini retro on a project. Deep dive into something that went well. An FYI on an issue with a lot of nuance. Answering individual questions about that big Wednesday announcement. An onboarding track of conversations for relatively new team members. Expectation setting for the future of the project, team, or company. Feedback on something that could be improved. Raising a concern from the direct report.

There should always be a running agenda and anyone can add to it. If there is nothing to talk about, you skip. But have a cadence. In a remote company these are more important than in physical office environments.

Running good 1:1s is a skill that can be honed. If anyone is interested in learning, I’d be happy to chat. Contact info in profile.

I wish I could offer more on maximizing this time... However, I think I can help in another way.

Don't feel bad about 'blowing your trumpet' or complaining; that's exactly the time to do it!

My manager and I skip our 1:1s more often than we have them, and when we do, it's usually just a hang-out session.

We meet once every two weeks, and most of the time is just talking about random things we found neat.

However, there are times when another team is being difficult and I need help 'navigating the business'. These meetings are super valuable for that.

I can provide more in-depth information on the situation as a whole, and we can work on a plan - without needlessly involving the rest of our team.

I’m quite senior so I do the same. We meet every two weeks but about half the time cancel because there’s really nothing to talk about. I’ve made it clear that I’m happy with my current level and don’t want to “progress” to another level where I’m a professional meeting attender. So there’s not much to talk about- I’m fairly happy and my long term goal is to retire in my 40s and work at a fairly chill place until then.

When I do have an actual topic it’s to ask about company politics- I need X, who can make that happen - or something like when I wanted to transition to fully remote

Good luck on retiring in your 40s, that’s currently almost entirely up to external factors like demographics and the federal government. Maker and destroyer of wealth. Baby boomers retiring in mass are about to hit the economy hard. They need their investments to live off of and they will be spending in an economy they aren’t producing for. Inflation will be crazy so the way to compensate will be to stay employed.

Do downvotes mean I’m wrong or that I upset someone?

You're being downvoted because, in software engineering, retiring in your 40s isn't an unrealistic goal for many. We may be going into tough times, but tough times for those making 200k+ a year is still far better times than most in normal times.

Or even household income of 900k a year.

Luckily people in their 20s today tend to live at home and rarely go out, if this is how you are living and you are happy with it, working a well paid job until you are 40 and then retiring is doable.

I know this is a glib take, and it's somewhat tongue in cheek but tech jobs in general are well paid enough to at least make a plan to retire in your 40s. I don't think you'll necessarily get there with a "chill" approach, you'll need to be ambitious and smart with investments to make the most of it.

Something else to think about; retiring in your 40s means you are not necessarily even half way through your life these days, so you'll need to work hard enough to pay for the second half of your life. That means you may never make big purchases beyond a home, may not have money for hobbies, or vacations. I mean, life is expensive for the average person, even if you are bringing in $200k+ right now. I feel like we may see early retirees from the 2020s looking for work again in 20 years time.

Investing well is critical, but also a gamble. I know people who have been saving their whole lives into a pension plan only to have it wiped out later in life.

>Do downvotes mean I’m wrong or that I upset someone?

Both likely. It comes off authoritative, without much backup. And if you are going to retire in your 40s' being in tech is certainly going to help and most members are in that field. I also think a lot of people in tech have a similar plan.

> Do downvotes mean I’m wrong or that I upset someone?

I did not downvote, but I think the FUD in your message overshadowed the point you were trying to make.

I suspect the downvotes are because the comment isn't really related to the topic.

1. Here's what I'm working on. (Is this a good use of my time?)

2. Here are my blockers. (Can you help clear the way so I can do my work?)

3. Here's what's going on in my life (relationship building, context for manager to understand your work and capacity)

I've seen this in a few places before.

1 and 2 should be daily/biweekly/weekly check-ins either via a stand up or by a message/email, they do not warrant a 1-on-1 and wastes people's time to make managers feel better.

3 seems like it could be abused by a manager and feels a little forced by the sounds of it. Does the manager share equally about their availability to act accordingly?

#3 can be abused, but a 1 on 1 isn't meant to solve a bad culture.

Think of it more like "oh yeah my kid just started soccer at school", "we found this neat new restaurant", etc. It's relationship building. Work is more fun when you like the people you work with!

It is not about simple updates. Questions about project prioritisation and blockers totally belong to a 1-on-1. They are easier to discuss face to face rather than over email.

> 1 and 2 should be daily/biweekly/weekly check-ins either via a stand up or by a message/email, they do not warrant a 1-on-1 and wastes people's time to make managers feel better

Some people communicate or receive feedback better in person/video than over email, and that's okay!

Which might be why GP said 'either via a stand up or'?

#3 can work. My last two managers were decent people with interesting stuff they did outside of work.

I've enjoyed sharing some war stories in my experience volunteering at various places.

I'll totally talk for hours about any number of topics.

I've also done what's probably "life coaching". There are a lot of things I've learned managing a mental illness. Not a therapist, but I know a lot of the techniques and what's worked for me or other people.

> I've also done what's probably "life coaching". There are a lot of things I've learned managing a mental illness. Not a therapist, but I know a lot of the techniques and what's worked for me or other people.

Be careful about playing work therapist, it can lead to boundaries getting blurred in a way that becomes detrimental to the relationship and ultimately your career over the long run.

Yeah. I don't play therapist. I just offer to give advice from time to time. I know where to point people. Knowing where to start or what the options are is invaluable.

If someone really needs help, the most I'll do is spend 15 minutes showing them how to find a suitable professional.

I had to play therapist to a few teammates and I never want to repeat that experience again.

It's really stressful trying to prod someone to get their life back together when they clearly need professional help and maybe medication.

I'm an engineer, I'm not built to be a life coach in any way.

Yeah. I used the term loosely. I don't play therapist. I just give advice occasionally. With my current job, I do check in to see if my coworkers aren't overworking themselves, but it's a mutual thing. Team culture is pretty awesome.

Only close friends get my time and energy. (Coworkers are not friends.) Even then, I've got firm boundaries. I'll be there when I can but I'm nobody's emotional support dog. :)

I will start with 3 and 1&2

Aren't the first two covered at standup every day?

My management do not attend standup and I prefer it that way.

I don't really understand this sentiment. Management joining or not should have 0 effect on standup. They should only be there to hear what folks are working on and or also to give their own updates.

Management being present really does change the dynamic of pretty much any meeting. I watch as junior members of the team either clam up or start show boating. There is even a correlation between camera off and management being present. IMO developers have their best discussions when there is nobody there to impress.

I as a manager join the stand up, and I offer to the team the things I am working on and the blockers I am dealing with, just like everyone else in the standup. Maybe it makes more sense for me because as a manager I have a little bit of dev work that happens as well which is maybe just a culture thing at my work place. I can see how it would be detrimental to join standup and be seen as an auditor of all the things that the team is working on.

It is slightly different if the manager is also a developer, in which case they also have blockers to report. We have scrum masters to deal with blockers. They are not management, just one of the developers most of the time although I have had dedicated scrum masters in the past. The crucial thing is to make the standup a safe space for devs to openly discuss problems without their line manager breathing down their necks. The other thing management tend to do in stand ups is to use the time for irrelevant announcements, most of which should have been an email.

Wait WHAT. Who is standing up then?! Just the workers? haha That is hilarious. If you never had the stand up again, do you think anything would change in your day-to-day?

It's common for standups to be attended only by workers. They're a forum for open lateral communication, not communication up the ladder.

As soon as you add management into the mix, people get cagey and the standup becomes less effective.

To expand on the idea a bit here, I thought the point was like a huddle between plays for the players. Yes, there should be a communication line out of the huddle to get information and such, but by and large the idea is to empower the team to do things the way that they think it needs doing.

Yes, exactly. Of course, lots of places do have intrusive management and turn standups into another form of supervision, but that's really not the point. It's sort of sad/ironic that GP was mocking the entire idea of a developer-led standup.

I'm a PM now and I run my team's standups, but even that may not be ideal depending on the perception of PMs within the organization. I think it's great when there's a tech lead or senior team member who wants to do the job -- they have the authority and experience to resolve issues quickly, but are still perceived as a collaborator, not a supervisor.

> I'm a PM now and I run my team's standups

You're management, you are not communicating laterally.

PM has "manager" in the name, but it's not management. Literally everything a good PM does comes from credibility, competence and soft power. A PM's primary mandate is to make a product that benefits the user, but we don't make staffing decisions, do 1:1s, performance reviews or other "management" things. It's why the job is hard.

But I openly acknowledge that PM can be perceived as a tentacle of management, which is why I said it's not necessarily right to follow my current example.

>It's common for standups to be attended only by workers

I have never seen this in 20+ years of work.

Management is supposed to be in the standup to help remove blockers.

Scrum Master is the one who handles removing blockers, "Management" doesn't need to be there for every standup. It's a waste of their time.

Scrum Masters should also be just a member of the team, not a "master" per se.

I know almost no one does this, but the absolute best standup meetings I've experienced have meeting of the just workers, by just the workers, to let just the workers know what's going on around them so they can self-direct.

The addition of management always turns it into a status update.

I think standup is a great way to communicate blockers or solutions (understanding that it will be quick, else you parking lot it until after the meeting) with teammates. It restricts interruptions to that 15 minute block instead of randomly throughout the day (which can break flow).

It’s in public. As a newbie team lead I was taught we need to give ample opportunities to talk, and henceforth to collect discontent as early as it forms.

I wasn’t yet taught why managers do nothing when you have long-standing discontent :)

As a manager, I use it as an opportunity to review objectives (the objectives themselves, not the employee so much - i.e. are they still relevant, achievable, etc - or should they be changed), and let my staff speak candidly with me about whatever they want. Sometimes this is strictly work related things like discussing improvements or them chasing updates on initiatives that they don't think have enough focus/visibility, etc. Other times it can be just watercooler talk or other rapport maintenance. I maintain a tracker for topics we discuss so I don't forget them, and can check in on them in the next 121(s). Also lets me keep notes and schedule time for actions I need to take to support, escalate, prioritise, etc. Often I'll ask pointed questions to really indicate the level of candidacy I'm prepared to let them go to - e.g., how's my management? What's your mood on those Sunday evenings when you realise tomorrow is monday? etc.

As an employee, I use it as an opportunity to discuss (demand) a reshape of my own objectives in response to emerging/evolving work, discuss what I want in form of support, and candidly discuss things I've heard on the grapevine but am not prepared to discuss with a wider audience. I also use it as a place to ask the possibly "dumb" questions and observations that I don't know if I want my peers hearing just yet. I'm also senior enough that I have confidential projects and knowledge I am prohibited from sharing so this is my one place to blab safely.

I use my 1-1 in several ways

A) Get info from my manager that they don’t necessarily want broadcast (speculation/uncommitted plans, inside perspective on what went down on something, etc…). Depends on the manager and your relationship, but I’d say 75%+ of my managers have been willing to give me info 1-1 that I wouldn’t get in a large setting.

B) Updates/discussions about side projects or other things that don’t fit into our other forums- putting together the holiday party, interviews, putting together team training, wild prototype/hackathon projects etc…

C) Advice on non-technical problems- “I’m trying to engage bob’s team for help, but their responses are very slow.”

D) Feedback and coaching- “I thought our delivery of X went well, but I missed Y’s dependency on us. Any thoughts on how I/we could have done better?”

E) Socializing/ relationship building. If you can, bond with that person, share stories about vacations/kids/ interests. My job can be a bit lonely and some days just talking can be the best use of time

F) Nothing- totally fine if we cancel our 1-1 occasionally, especially if we’ve already had ad hoc meetings.

Manager Tools has a podcast series on 1:1, from the manager’s viewpoint, including episodes for specific roles, https://www.manager-tools.com/podcasts/important-topic-feeds...

If the company is big enough, you can maintain an evolving map of your team’s dependencies and contributions to other teams, then compare notes with your manager about this model vs reality. That’s one way to orient tasks within a larger business context, and it provides an ongoing topic which accrues over time into a joint asset.

Manager Tools is a good podcast.

Something I've noticed over my roughly decade career, having ~10 managers during this time...

If you're not having interesting conversation directly related to your work during 1:1s, it's likely that things are going well for you, or you have a bad manager.

Assuming you don't have a bad manager, then they would be discussing things that aren't going well with you. So if that's not the case, then you're doing fine. Use the 1:1 as a chance to talk about your backgrounds, interesting things you've noticed at work, eventual improvements you would back, possible cost savings opportunities, etc.

Definitely the case for me. My manager likes to beat around the bush for about 23/30 minutes, then guilts me about things he's unsatisfied with. Pretty par for the course unfortunately, so I just ask how he'd approach it. Even worse when they ask passive-aggressive questions, hoping I'll identify the inane thing they're thinking about. I just let it fizzle out without them getting anything out of it.

1:1’s are your time to make you more effective via your manager.

Don’t only surface what you did (I view that as the boring back up conversation). Surface what you need. Surface challenges you’ve faced. Surface decisions that are on your horizon. Surface what you want.

Your manager can’t read your mind, but you have 30m to help them act as if they can.

As an employee I found that the topics varied depending upon the current workload and stress level associated with it. If it was easy, quiet times we'd just shoot the breeze for a few and then call it good. If things were totally nuts they ended up being brainstorming sessions. The in-between times were when I made sure that my supervisor knew what my career goals were and how I was setting about reaching them when time allowed.

As a manager I schedule them once per month with my team and for 30 minutes and don't stress if they run short or long. It is their time to tell me about anything that they need to talk about. Most times we have a short, 15-minute chat and call it good. Last month I had one dev tell me that they were stressed beyond belief, not sleeping well, not eating well, and not happy. I've made sure to keep in touch with that one more often and provide help where I can (lower stress issues, mention company programs, etc.) IMO weekly gets old really fast and the manager should be able to recognize that and adjust accordingly. You do that for new people (like yourself) until they get settled in and are working as expected on code. After that you dial the meetings back gradually until they are as unobtrusive as possible but still within company requirements.

Use 1:1s to talk about things you can't talk about in a group setting. I tend to use them for two main things: organizational gossip and negotiation.

Often times managers have much richer insight in to other managers or where the department is going, but would be unprofessional to share that candidly with a whole team. Getting some unvarnished perspective has been seriously helpful for me to understand what's coming or learn how to 'play the politics'

Similarly they've been useful for me to practice some gentle negotiation - 'what do I have to do/show to get x on my year-end review' or 'I'm looking for x raise, how can I build a business case to convince you'. Whether or not they say yes right away, it's always insightful as to how the performance review system really works.

If you feel like there isn't enough to talk about in a weekly one-on-one then consider asking your manager to switch to every other week or even monthly. You also never have to use the full time of any meeting. It's fine to call it early if you've covered everything there is to cover. And like others have said, it's fine to skip scheduled one on ones if there's nothing important to talk about.

I've had all of those things happen as an IC and as a manager and they seem like common sense to me.

As an IC, the majority of my one on one time with my manager would be spent covering what I'm currently working on and if there's any problems that the manager could solve as well as looking at work down the line from a high level to see if there was anything I'm especially interested in.

As a manager, I wished all of the direct reports would ask more questions or have more input but I would usually cover the what I would want to talk about as an IC as well as try and be transparent about things going on on the business side that may not have been communicated well enough in my opinion.

And then there would usually be some time spent talking about personal stuff depending on how close I am with the manager/IC. One IC was someone I was/am pretty friendly with and we'd talk about different pop culture things going on. Another usually had some kind of family stuff they were dealing with so I'd offer an ear and some support. And some I just didn't get along with that well personally so we'd leave it at work discussions which is also totally fine.

Everything, really. for over four years I can count the number of times we canceled on a single hand. It could be work (but no status reports), kids, what is on my mind, current news. It’s not only about meaningful content but about getting to know the other person. Sometimes I am jut happy to listen when my boss talks about his side of the house. Ultimately if I know what affects my boss, I can help him if there’s anything in my sphere of work. 30 minutes is just a starter, if you need to reinforce a topic use the time for an elevator pitch why you need more time from your boss.

When I run 1:1's with members of my team, it's generally:

* 10 minutes shooting the shit

* 5 minutes (or less) getting status updates

* 15 minutes (or remaining time) on 'how can I help you' type stuff

I like this agenda because:

* I work remotely and don't get as much time as I'd like relationship building. The purpose of the 1:1 can be, all else removed, a chance to have a friendly conversation where I get to know someone better. It's great for everyone's mental health (my own included), and it can also be great for understanding people's areas of strength, work-related interests, and career goals.

* I try to get as much as I can in terms of status updates from automated means. Project tracking, internal docs, git repo, build tool, etc, are all sources of information for me to know where things are. Occasionally I miss things and ask about them during 1:1, but generally I don't like to treat 1:1's as a chance to get status updates. This is a problem best solved using tools, and our time is precious, so if I'm spending >5m on this during a 1:1 it might be a sign of an issue.

* Understanding where I can help the person is where I like to spend the bulk of my time during a 1:1. This can be unstructured, and help can be in various forms. Unblocking something, helping make a decision, providing information, helping mediate or resolve a dispute, provide feedback on something being considered, etc. Sometimes there's nothing, but in a majority of my 1:1's there's something to talk about here.

I'm happy to end a 1:1 early if we run out of things in the above agenda to talk about. I'd say 50% of the time I end 1:1's around 5 minutes early.

Lastly, I'd say if you're not sure if you're using your 1:1 time productively, it's not a bad use of your 1:1 time to talk about it.

I tend to avoid focusing on status updates on my WIP. In my 1:1s, I want to talk about me.

1. What do I need to do to get my next promotion/payrise, or how do I get onto the next bit of interesting work? Even if I'm happy with my current work and compensation, I use this as an opportunity to constantly make clear what my personal objectives are.

2. How well am I tracking against Q1?

3. How do you suggest I improve on Q2? If I have things I know are pushing down on Q2, I will ask for help.

In addition, I tend to use them for managing upwards - setting expectations, and making clear where I need something from my manager.

I actually searched the page to see if anyone else is mentioning "managing up". Yes, I use my 1:1 for that as well.

Remember: your manager works for you, their job is to enable you.

I got my hands on https://wizardzines.com/zines/manager/ and started having more productive one-on-ones :)

imo you shouldnt feel like you need to fill the entire allotted time every week (just reach out that morning and say something like 'no big updates this week, ok to cancel?'), and it's a great time to also align calendars and set agendas for deeper dives if you do need more time

i wouldnt see it as 'blowing your trumpet', this may be the only honest exposure your manager gets to your project some times, since others on the team are probably also on their plate

I'm currently a high level IC, and this is what we talk about:

1) Pleasantries about our kids/family/how our last vacation was/etc. for a minute.

2) Any questions I have for her, which usually mean questions about corporate policies or procedures, or questions like, "I need to know about project X, who would be a good contact", or things like, "I need to accomplish Y, usually I would do it like this, but how is that done here".

3) Any context she has for me that she got at higher level management meetings that I need to know.

4) Occasionally status updates on projects she is every interested in or that her management is asking about so she can be ready to answer them.

5) Every fourth or so meeting (roughly monthly) we talk about career development, projects that might be good to get involved in with high visibility or impact, etc.

When I was a manager managing more junior folks, they were something like this:

1) Talk about family/friends/etc. sometimes for 20+ minutes, however long they wanted to talk. Especially during COVID, I was sometimes the only person they talked to during the week.

2) Demo of their work since the last meeting -- UX demo or code review, whatever they want feedback on, if anything. Then I would give them product feedback or code feedback.

3) Context for their next task. They would either tell me what they want to do next or ask me and I would give them suggestions for next tasks and why each is important to the business and let them choose.

4) Anything else I can help with.

For senior folks, we'd usually skip #2 unless they wanted specific feedback.

The commonality was context. I operate better with more context, and so do people who work for me, so I see the main job as a manager is a conduit for context -- why are we doing the work we are doing.

I guess it varies by person but talking about kids/family/friends is pretty much off-limits for me at work. Completely irrelevant and none of their business. Most other discussion I handle as "anything you say can be used against you." I have never worked in a place without office politics and have learned the hard way that you cannot trust superiors (or really anyone) no matter how genuine they seem. They will always look out for themselves if push comes to shove and some do much worse than that.

Just de-lurked to say: I agree with you completely.

As a veteran of several industry-winters, I have to expect some down-voters are in for a rude awakening over the next few years.

I can be guarded as well at times but has this approach really helped you when push comes to shove?

"OKRs are not productive for our level of the organization and take up too much time, we shouldn't copy a practice just because Google used it"

its usually just a reminder about how many things are causing context switching and how that limits productivity

As a manager:

1. The most value I get is when people complain. It can be about the tech stack or about processes or lack of change. I then choose whether to solve the problem or teach the individual how to solve (coaching or teaching).

2. When the individual uses me to make organizational change happen. This usually happens with managers or staff engineers.

3. Gives me enough context to pull on threads and refactor the organization.

If you don't wanna do any of that and we don't even have fun stuff to talk about (once a month'ish) then I end the convo early.

Also, I often tell employees that it's their time, not my time and to come armed with topics and I'll do the same. But not everyone does this so I end early maybe 20% of the time.

As a manager, here is what I usually want to discuss:

- No detailed work stuff. That's not for this meeting

- How are you doing overall in the company/team etc ? (I am looking to understand if you still want to be with us and if not, why not)

- What is working well so far that wants you to keep doing what you do. This should come from both sides

- What is not working well that you need help with so that you can do better. This should come from both sides

- Are you on the right path in the team/company ?

- As the manager, what can I do better which I don't do today ? This can be tricky but I want honest answers and I give honest answers to expect the same.

Most importantly: 1:1 is more about the person, the individual and not the output as an employee.

First we talk about our Home Assistant setups and how we're using HA to chart and improve our houses. Then we discus how the kids are doing in school and in general (they're of similar age, have similar issues). Then, in the last 20 min or so, we turns to work and she asks about the things she wrote down last time (is this still the same, has it improved?), she asks if I'm still happy doing what I'm doing, what she can do for me, if I feel stuck with anything. I can vent, she writes down things. She makes useful suggestions and plans to address issues I raise. She may have some critique, I can be pretty chaotic, tend to end up with many side tasks. Talking to her helps. It's nice. I also ask about her struggles, see if I can help.

Edit (after getting 14 upvotes): My 1on1 is about monthly to quarterly btw. Weekly is a bit much if you ask me. Maybe good to say that my "team-lead" is not my PO or project manager, we have a matrix structure. In ways she is a colleague, but on the management axis she is "above" me.

Another edit: I'm in one project for .2 FTE, that manager wants to see me 1on1 every 2 weeks so that's after 2 days of work. Thinking about that project, I feel OP's pain. I keep pushing this person towards team meeting that I could join occasionally, somehow, he's not having it. Luckily he is certainly not responsible for my promotion, that's the manager from part 1.

This is similar to mine. Being regular people(we are over 1500km away from each other) and then discussing some work things. But most work things get addressed as they’re issues or come up anyways. But it’s a time to just be people. I have a good relationship with my manager though, so YMMV for others.

I also do something similar with my manager on a monthly basis. It's nice to just chat for a while, but I also really value the opportunity to discuss my work and career progression. From what I've read elsewhere, this is a pretty well regarded way to handle these.

For the first time in many years, I have a manager who doesn't cancel 1:1s, provides us autonomy to do our work, and gives specific feedback.

Our 1:1 structure is based off the CEO's suggested 1:1 format[1] and was something I put together because I wanted more structure. From what I've heard, members of my team have different formats with the same manager.

1. Check-In - personal check-ins on life

2. Discuss/Help/Review - items I need my manager to help or advice with, issues we need to discuss, or updates on projects related to OKRs

3. FYI/Think - items I'm thinking about or working on that manager may not be aware of. We don't always vocalize this section, sometimes its there for me to showcase things I'm considered e.g I think it would be cool to work on X, but I don't have a plan yet.

4. What’s going well: a celebration or something to my credit

5. What could go better: item that could've gone better

6. Action Items: any TODO items for myself or manager

When there isn't a lot to discuss due to a quiet week or larger projects ongoing, my manager will check in on how I feel about my role, work, and capacity. It's helpful because I often get caught up in the day to day and it's hel,pful


Your manager should want you to be happy and successful.

Clarify what is important (not just urgent) and why it's important. Present progress on key items, as your manager should be able to identify things you had not thought of. That should not require a deep dive. Highlight potential escalations. If you have a problem that requires your managers attention, also present a potential solution, then listen and hopefully learn.

Each quarter it's a good idea to revisit your yearly objectives, and progression towards these goals, which is the perfect time to also blow your own trumpet and ask for feedback on what you could do better.

Promotions and pay raises are often more about relationships with both your manager and his peers, so ask how you can increase your visibility across the organization. What problems can you help solve outside your day job?

If you aren't getting anything valuable out of the meeting, it's OK to just chat about personal stuff, or be silent and let the manager drive. Some managers are fantastic, and some managers are frankly in the wrong job.

FWIW, as someone who’s had direct reports for decades, 1:1s are mostly about building a relationship (two more things below). I want to have a relationship with trust and honesty (within the bounds of work, of course) while things are going well, so that when things go sideways we have a good grounding and can still work together.

“Sideways,” by definition, is not predictable. E.g., one of my people, many years ago, was harassed by another employee. If we hadn’t had a good relationship they may not have said anything to me.

The part that isn’t relationship-building is either (a) fire detection, or (b) career growth. Fire detection: I want to find signs of fires as early as possible; often they smolder for a long time before bursting into flames. Career growth: I want my people to be able to learn, grow, and progress without having to find a new job first.

Other commenters have said — and I agree — that tracking work is often done better in other contexts.

I find half an hour every fortnight is a better schedule, and the quality of the meeting has depended on the quality of the manager and my willingness to prepare and engage. When done right, it's a place to talk about my goals within the company and in my career, how they're going, how the company can help me, etc. It's a great place to show what you're interested in and what you want to do in the future, because hopefully the manager has a broader idea of what's happening at the company/team on a higher level, so they can talk to people to help you get where you want to be. E.g. want to talk at conferences? Your manager can ask around at their meetings, maybe someone knows someone looking to get company representation at a conference. Want to use and improve your architectural skills? Maybe there's a round of cross-Team engineers discussing and sharing tips regularly.

My goals from 1-1s are asking for regular feedback and preventing surprises.

I keep a running list of things that I need to talk to my manager about. I pull top 2-3 things off this list for each 1-1. And once a month I talk about career progress. Basically closing "gaps" especially if you're in a BigCo there's often a list of expectations that might be surprising (e.g. must do N interviews) and i'd like to see what I can do to close them.

Things on my list might include - Things I did that went well, and didn't go well. - Venting - Ideas I'd like to bounce off him. - Things that frustrated me (but dont block me yet) and seeing if he can help. - Ideas for new things me or my team could do. - Questions on who I should talk to for X thing.

My golden rule is never, ever use a 1-1 for project status updates. I'll provide one if asked but otherwise this is time for me.

Depends on your role. I (ea for quite a big company) use the time to discuss strategy and roadblocks. Additionally I address personal development if required. For myself I want to also check if I am doing the right things (by now I do know I do things right) and ensure my manager does delegate tasks that can be moved down. If your on a junior level it should be mostly about you: what can you start doing, how can you develop. Mid career it is a mix of checking the value you bring and if you can learn and develop more. Another thing to bring as checkpoint is stress and workload: your manager is the only person that can help you if needed, raise the topic early. Overload kills you and makes you deliver poor work, hence no benefit for employee nor employer. Oh, and look at Daniel pink - drive, might be beneficial.

We are 100% remote, so it is a great opportunity to catch up and build our relationship. I have a great manager and she is really good at what she does.

We usually start with some of the things I'm working on and some of the things I just finished. If I have some questions, I usually wait for this time to ask them. This really helps the rest of the week because I know I have this upcoming time and I don't need to seek her out to have a question answered. I will have her undivided attention in a couple of days.

About a month ago or so, I didn't have much work stuff to talk about, so I tried to cut is short. She seemed disappointed so I now make a point to also talk about non-work topics once the work stuff is done.

I think it really helps build our team.

I would agree with what people wrote:

1. What you're working on 2. Blockers (or how the manager can help with those) 3. Anything going on with you which could impact your work

In my current role, people are highly autonomous. 1:1 being held once every 2 weeks, or once a month is enough. Once a week is way too high touch.

The Manager Tools Podcast has a lot on this topic, from a managers perspective but still a trove of info: https://www.manager-tools.com/map-universe/one-ones

Things that work for me:

1. Discuss with your manager if it's ok to cancel when you don't have anything to talk about. Sometimes it's all fine.

2. If you're unsure of what to speak about, ask the manager to bring up what he wants you to talk about. My current one always ask me to rate my "happiness" with things are going, I like it as a starting point.

3. Try to reframe how you see your complaints. Part of our jobs is to complain: to notice the problems and to bring them up to the ones with decision power to fix it. I try to always put my complaining in this light, both because I think it helps how others see me, but also because it helps me to identify better what is a genuine problem and what is just a personal annoyance.

I started skipping most weekly 1:1 with my managers. But I wound up being there for a decade and we started blowing them off probably after I'd been there 4 years and was effectively the team lead, and didn't really want or need career help. Given that my managers, particularly the last one were all overworked that kind of worked out for them as well. Every now and then we had them but it was typically around raises and stock options and things like that, with the very occasional one around higher level project strategy and deliverables. The retros we had were usually where everyone complained about staffing, and I didn't really need a weekly 1:1 to complain about it more.

I actually asked my manager to increase the frequency of my 1:1s from bi-weekly to weekly. It's never status updates/work stuff. It's more on the mental plane.

We ponder a lot on self reflection and self-improvement. There is no 'agenda'. I like to think it's more of a flow state discussion combined with a good chemistry where there is no notion of being judged. The room quickly becomes a safe place to talk about anything and everything.

Sometimes, we would talk about how things are going in my personal life. How has my sleep been. Am I mindful of the things that could be holding me back? If yes, what am I doing to unblock myself. If not, he pushes me to the right direction of thinking and I strike gold. Every time.

Soemtimes, we 'thonk': he brings up very tough questions:

- The last time you cried, was it out of emotional pain or remorse?

- If you could chose, who would be your ideal sibling?

We both answer, we both discuss.

I think we're both suckers of productivity and these 'sessions' activates my brain on a whole new level. Which is the main muscle for knowledge workers like us.

I would have these 1:1s twice a week. But I also know his calendar looks like Van Gogh's artwork. ---

Here's why I never talk about work with him:

- I am fine unblocking myself at work. If I'm dependent on another team, I talk to the team and I resolve it. I include him on a barely negligible threshold.

- I seldom complain about tasks I'm working on. Understand this: not every task is going to be exciting (how else will you differentiate between the boring ones?). It's a task. It's come to pass.

- I seldom bring up people and compatibility mismatches with my team. If I do bring up, it is to validate whether the way I resolved it could be better.

- I bring up salary. But I also know he is not my employer. We both report to the same employer.

I think the reason we work (I like to think I'm very difficult to manage..) is because I put myself into his shoes when I ask him for help/support.

* Talk about what you were working on for the past week.

* Talk about what you observed your colleagues had been working on, just to get some team context and make sure you aren't too narrowly focused on your own work.

* Talk about what you want to work on, in terms of your own interest and motivations, and how well you think that aligns with the business direction or any OKR/KPI that leaders care about.

* Talk about what your manager has been working on and whether there's any work your manager could usefully delegate to you.

* Talk about what your leaders (directors / VPs) are working on and whether that would have any impact on your team's work.

There are other good answers, but I want to emphasize that a 1:1 is where you most definitely should blow your own trumpet. You may have done something great or important and your boss may not have noticed. Make sure they do so that it (hopefully) comes up when it's time to consider your raise.

Also, though hopefully not often, that thing you think was so wonderful was not received that way. If that's the case, it's good to know soon so you can deal with the consequences (fix if needed, or at least learn that things like X aren't received well after all).

Think of how you can maximize the impact on your organization, career, and personal well-being-

- Ensure that your manager understands what motivates you. This has a profound impact on the opportunities that you will receive.

- What impact have you made on the company's operations over time?

- Where do you intend to head with your career? What is your 1, 2, 5 year plan? Does not have to be set in stone but having some idea can lead to an insightful discussion.

- What opportunities lie ahead? What can you do over next 6-12 months to steer your career and maximize impact on the organization?

Do you see your manager as a mentor? Might be a great venue to seek mentorship as well.

I consider 1:1s to be lethal for team working, and only make sense if each report is completely siloed. If, as in the real world, we are working together on projects as teams then any decision making made or direction given behind closed doors without team awareness will cause serious problems with cohesion.

There is nothing more annoying than trying to figure out what this person has been instructed by their manager in secret, so that if necessary you can countermand it in order to get stuff done properly.

It is a peculiarly American construct, and seems rather antiquated after experiencing modern team management style.

A 1:1 shouldn’t be focused on project-related things—you’re right to assume that would just muddy the waters. 1:1s are best used for personal growth. Asking your manager things like “what do you perceive as my weaknesses/strengths” and “what training opportunities can you help me pursue” etc. It should be a personal discussion that helps you to grow in your career and get what you want out of your employment.

Indeed - personal growth and other HR type things. Once a month max I'd think, certainly not once a week. At once a week you soon run out of HR stuff and start talking about operation matters again.

Oh yes once per week is certainly overkill.

I don’t think you understand what a good 1:1 is. If you think a 1:1 is a secret meeting to tell you secrets, you have no clue. I’d suggest reading up on it somewhere, for example Claire at knowyourteam has some blogs and ebooks that give a high level.

Ah but if you give (or force) people the opportunity to do the wrong thing, they will almost invariably do it, best of intentions or otherwise. HR stuff gets exhausted soon enough, and then you are back to operational matters and the problems begin.

I'm sure there are lots of blogs and ebooks about 1:1s, but I doubt they approach them with the requisite critical mindset for a clear view, given that they themselves are a product of this somewhat anachronistic management culture - bear in mind that in the US an employee is 'owned' by the employer to a rather greater extent than in Europe.

I'm not sure I follow, but I am glad you are not my manager.

Mandatory weekly and it's 90% bullshitting/filling the time. I hate them but oh well. I'm pretty decent at conversation but they should be optional because they're pointless.

I have weekly 1-on-1s and I do enjoy them. I work for a big-ish company and half of the team works remote full time.

Similar to other comments, we chat a lot about personal stuff and crack some jokes. But I also make an effort to note down things that I want to ask about. Sometimes it's about what the vibe is on the business side, sometimes it's about my career or feedback on what I did recently and sometimes I ask mundane things such as "do we have a stock image account for my presentations".

* human stuff -- "hows the husband? How are the kids?" or "how bout that $SPORTS_TEAM", etc. Small talk relationship stuff, keep it light but do try to build a bridge, just be cognizant of power dynamics and roles

* what i'm doing this week -- literally, what is on the plate. keep it short, this should be tracked elsewhere, but never hurts to give a summary

* moderate challenge -- what is giving me trouble and may need an escalation or other resources to assist. "status: yellow" sorta stuff, not an issue yet but could be. no action items, just information.

* escalation -- stuff I need manager help with but was not on-fire enough to warrant its own call or breaking the flow. action items for the boss, basically. "I need support on $X, I need you to talk to $OTHER_TEAM to get some traction"

* what are their concerns? what are their code: yellow items and what do they need to escalate or send down to you? "We've got Project Y coming up and it will need some preliminary work on Z, can you brush up on that ASAP?"

* other general feedback, esp. related to performance. If you get fired, rebuked, celebrated publicly, or promoted it shouldn't be a surprise because you got explicit feedback as to where you're at.

The cadence for 1:1s is more for your preference/needs than your manager's. If you want a 50 minute meeting every other week, suggest that.

(As a manager,) I do think that weekly is too frequent for my taste for a standing 1:1 once the initial relationship is established and mutual ways of working are understood. I tend to have weekly 1:1s when first working with someone new, but prefer every other. (Again, it's not about my preferences over theirs, but I'm telling you mine here.)

Ideally, there isn't much to talk about wrt the work you are doing. It should be covered in daily interactions and regular scrum/status updates.

Everyone is different, but 30 minutes of what should be a casual conversation is hard to structure and get good use out of.

An hour every other week would be nice. It would give enough time to talk about yourself, what you've been working on, and gives enough time to open up about issues/concerns/ideas that may take a while to discuss organically.

I've usually had 30 minutes scheduled for these (weekly or biweekly), both as manager and employee. >50% of the time it's "we talked about everything already on signal yesterday, so we can skip it this week? yes" but sometimes it's useful for discussing a new product idea or addressing a specific roadblock (resources from other departments, usually, or sometimes concerns re: a vendor). I tend to do things more async but unscheduled, though -- send an email or a message which doesn't require immediate followup but sometime in the next ~week.

I think 30m biweekly is more optimal. If I ever had an actually junior direct report I'd be more inclined to be more formal, available, or frequent on these, or someone who I knew to have difficulty raising issues in other settings. I've never actually had a 0-2 year experience direct report, though, as I actively try to avoid direct reports generally but particularly early-career people.

I find AARs on projects (successful and unsuccessful) to be far more useful than most of the cargo-cult-management tools. Also, having dashboards on status of various things and current blockers kept updated, ideally automatically through tools used in the workflow itself, and a clear directory of who to contact for what component.

There are several ways in which you could approach this. First, it is a growth opportunity for both you and your manager.

. It is your time with the manager and not the other way. So you drive this meeting.

. It is a great opportunity to build/reinforce trust (both ways) so do not cancel them unless it is an emergency, on vacation, etc.

. Always set an agenda ahead of time and share with the manager.

. Since you seem to have a weekly 30 minutes, do not always talk about projects/operational things. It will soon get boring and you will feel like canceling the meetings.

. Is your manager open to feedback? Share where they excel. Share what you have learned from them. Also share when you expected something different than their exhibited behavior and show genuine care to understand why they did what they did (of course in a more conversational empathetic way).

These things go a long way in building trust, engagement, and relationship. A good manager will also grow from these interactions and perhaps implement similar style with other direct reports.

Lastly, [a shameless plug], if you like this and want to know more, dm me on twitter @muthax I will send a link to an app (in closed beta) we are building that helps users have meaningful 1:1 conversations.

What I have liked both as a manager and as an employee is to talk about things that are important but not urgent, especially focusing on the employee's experience and happiness. I think they day-to-day work stuff belongs mostly elsewhere.

When I start 1:1s with a new engineer, I will ask about why they took the job, what they were hoping to get out of it, and where they see themselves as going professionally. Then over the long term it's my job to make sure that they are getting what they want out of the job and staying happy enough that they stay, so I'll return to those early conversations and update them.

Lara Hogan has some good resources for managers: https://larahogan.me/resources/one-on-ones/

Regarding the OP's situation, though, it sounds like they are feeling responsible for directing the 1:1. I'd say that's a bit of a managerial failure. But answering the question directly, in the OP's shoes I might turn to broader questions. Ask about the company strategy, and how the employee's work fits in. Ask for career advice. Ask about manager's relationships with higher ups.

1:1 is not used for "report". Weekly summary can do that. Use it for discussions, questions, problems to solve, career path, big pic and team goals sync

I'd suggest at least some amount of small talk updates. Being a person to each other is a good way to develop a good relationship and have sympathy for one another, which can improve working relationships to no end. Doesn't have to be artificial, just share some thing about what is going on with you (but keep it positive), and listen to their personal update too.

I'd also use the meeting to signal any feelings you have about the direction of the team/company, as well as ensuring that your view of where the work is meant to go is valid. Keeping everybody with an aligned idea of goals is important when you're collaborating.

If you feel the need for a deep dive, I'd suggest picking a single topic before hand to ensure that the 30 minutes is used effectively, but I would say that if they're a manager that getting technical is probably not the goal here. As a manager, you want to know about risks and opportunities to make future decisions. I'd aim it at that level.

I wouldn't worry about blowing your own trumpet - you're going to be your only advocate here and you'll be competing with others that do.

Mostly talk about pending organizational changes (since we've had 3 rounds of that over the last 12 months), or strategic initiatives our team should take. Of our team of 12, I'm the youngest but also the one with the most "rounded" experience, so he tends to ask my opinion a lot, which I appreciate.

Other than that, just the usual gripes about weather, travel disruption and useless project managers.

If you are happy working on your own and you don't need weekly 1:1s or support from your manager, feel free to suggest bi-weekly meetings. That's what I do with my manager. We usually talk about how my current projects are going, what projects are coming up in the future. I also explain new methods or tricks I have discovered and we discuss if or how this could benefit others in our team.

Former staff eng current manager here. When I was programming it was really common for me to steer 1:1s with my manager to personal topics. We talked about the city we lived in, projects we were working on, etc. I felt like it was more important to create a relationship with them than to talk about daily activities. That way, when I had larger initiatives I wanted to accomplish or things I wanted done that needed participation outside our group I would bring them to the 1:1.

Now that I'm a manager I see that everyone brings a unique sensibility to these meetings. The employee's work style, emotional temperament, ambition, project, and team dynamics all come together to form what they want to talk about. In general I try to have the employee run the meeting. It's their time to get information about what's going on in the company or give me feedback on how the team / project is progressing. As other's have stated, your manager shouldn't be leading a lot of the conversation unless they're delivering feedback on how you can improve.

So I have been on both sides of the one-on-one. I see this as a time to get uninterrupted feedback on processes and day-to-day things that don't fit well within team stand-ups.

It's also a time when you should be able to express yourself more directly. It is certainly ok to use this time to talk about what you are doing. That's kind of the what the manager is looking for. Ensuring there are no impediments that get glossed over in Slack exchanges or stand-ups.

You also shouldn't feel pressured to fill the entire time. Some weeks are just slow, or things are more mundane and all parties are in sync. Some weeks it feels like I need more time, depending on your manager you could schedule another sync the next day about a specific issue.

If you don't already, it may be a good idea to take daily notes, so you can do a round-up of anything that came up in the week. This will allow you to make the best use of your meeting time without forgetting important details or questions that came up.

Other than that I try to keep my one-on-ones casual and open. It's ok for there to be a little silence.

My manager's generic concerns are:

1. Are you happy with your work? I talk about what I'm proud of, what I'm bored with, what I'm putting off out of dread. We occasionally problem-solve around the third one buy usually it's a petty complaint that I need to voice before rolling up my sleeves and our meetings are early in the week.

2. Is anything in your way of making progress? I rarely have much to say because ICs at my company maintain as much fluidity as we can and I'm not shy about talking about my difficulties in public.

3. Are there any problems I'm not aware of? This is where I get an opportunity to percolate issues upwards. Sometimes bad processes make extra work, occasionally somebody's contributions are going unnoticed, etc. Sometimes this is fruitful, sometimes problems aren't going to be resolved. My manager just doesn't have that much power, but at least we've got rapport.

I frequently turn these questions around on my manager. It's good to know what's going on in his head, and I occasionally get to help problem-solve.

Use 1 on 1s to talk about stuff that you think is a problem/issue that isn't an immediate blocker. This might be interpersonal issues with coworkers, organization stuff that isn't working or something that might be useful if it existed, project general direction outside the scope of near term work planning, etc.

If you've done that in depth already maybe you have too many 1on1s.

Senior-but-not-staff engineer here. My manager and I keep a Trello board with a list of items to talk about including concerns, goals, projects to check in on, and so forth. It's keeping a pulse on how your relationship with your job is, and whether you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

Our 1-1s are typically 45 minutes but sometimes go longer and we have them every two weeks. OP, I would definitely ask your manager if you could change up the length and cadence if what you have isn't working for you.

We use them as a check-in on basically all aspects of my job: How is everything going, how is the team doing, how is the company doing, feedback in both directions, reviewing past performance + future goals. Put simply, if I have a formal performance review and am surprised by anything in it, especially anything negative, the 1-1s weren't doing their job.

But out of all of that, I think the absolute best way you can use your 1-1s, if you are ambitious, is to explicitly ask your manager: "Where is my performance relative to my current role, and to the role one level more senior than me? What do I need to do to progress in the direction of the latter?"

My manager and I have a spreadsheet where we track all the formal criteria written out for my role and the next role up, and my performance on each of those criteria. When all of the criteria for the role one level above mine read "meets" or "exceeds" expectations, it will be time for me to request a promotion, knowing I have clear evidence I have earned it. Simple as that. (We also keep a brag doc that's less formal but has specific concrete examples of good performance in it. Nothing wrong with "blowing your trumpet" in this context, at all.)

I very much like this system and it's worked for me well so far at my current job.

My experience is positive. I have 1:1 with my manager fortnightly for 1 hour. I am not a remote worker but I am remote from my manager so don't have water cooler chats during the week.

We have a template that we go through to ensure that anything can be tracked and also so we don't forget to cover anything. We don't have to cover everything in each 1:1 meeting, it is a guideline.

Importantly, I can also reach out to my manager directly for ad hoc things at any time.

We don't talk about the same things that are discussed in standup.

We do talk about my overall current and upcoming workload, any issues with my KPIs and how manager can help, any new company policies, my training goals, manager's training goals, what my plans are to take annual leave, as well as a generic "anything to discuss" section.

Then if time allows, we also chat about other things besides work.

The meeting is scheduled so isn't interrupting anything, and can be shifted around the calendar if there is high priority work happening. However we try hard to reschedule rather than skip it.

When starting with a new manager or direct report I usually ask that they read this blog post from RandsInRepose: https://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-update-the-vent-and-t...

> I don't want to just keep blowing my trumpet, or just complaining.

Complaining is fine. So is general chatting. The time is basically an opportunity to discuss what is on your mind. Share new ideas. Talk about potential problems. Ask for an update on your personal growth and progression. Give feedback on your manager. Ask for feedback on your manager.

I wouldn't worry about being super efficient. The habit of regular 1-1s is what is important and building the relationship between manager and direct report. Some 1-1s will be quick and easy and over in a fraction of the time. Some will stretch the meeting time. Try keeping to natural conversation and avoid robotic responses and status updates.

Does your manager know how you feel about your sessions? :)

Some ideas completely without context:

- make it less frequent

- make it about you! (that's the original reason for 1:1s anyway)

- pitch your ideas - what are parts of your life at work (from culture to codebase) you'd like to improve but you feel you can't?

- talk repeatedly about how to grow

- ask about what's happening in other parts of the org where you don't have good visibility

1:1s at staff/senior level have always been about annealing the TODO graph to optimise for delivery. Who do I need to do what. Who needs to talk to me. Who can my manager talk to on my behalf to get X done so that Y can unblock Z. It’s a weekly check in where we passively infer project status by actively discussing ephemeral Gantt chart optimizations.

On top of that there’s how I’m feeling. And how I’m feeling about colleagues A, B and C. The best 1:1s for me have been when I feel like I’m helping my manager by giving him a heads up on things that would have otherwise surprised him, particularly about human/human interaction. In many ways, managing junior ICs must be bliss when the 1:1 is about the status of their isolated tasks. The real quagmire begins when you have relatively senior people trying to accomplish something together as a team, with your manager acting as the PM you were never assigned.

Also, some amount of ticket triage, for our sins.

When I first moved into management, I wrote an article about how my direct reports could get more value out of our 1:1s. I'd probably write something different now, but the broad strokes remain true. https://erik.wiffin.com/posts/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-you...

1. Don't make it a status update. It's your time, and that's probably not the best use of it. 2. Spend some time figuring out what you want to get out of our 1:1s. If you don't know, tell me that, and I'm happy to work with you to figure it out. 3. End the conversation with next steps/action items. It's easy for me to say something that you interpret as a promise even if I didn't mean it that way and calling out action items explicitly is a good way to keep that from exploding into a huge problem.

It might help if you give us some context as to what you already talk about in 1-1s.

With my direct reports (I am in data science, so the project timelines/structures may be a bit different), rather than ask for a status report, I will ask them if there is anything they're having trouble on/issues with. If there are issues, I help them solve and/or troubleshoot, and also demonstrate my approaches for dealing with that kind of thing. (Prefacing that this is not likely the only way, but it is a way that has worked for me.)

If there are no issues on their current project(s), then I ask for dataviz--what are they finding/working on finding/are models improving/etc.

Beyond that, it's discussions of project resourcing: are you hitting deadlines, when can we expect to wrap up this stage, etc.

Finally, if nothing else, I'll try to engage in some conversation--my style as a manager relies on ensuring the personal and work well-being of my direct reports.

OTOH, what do I talk about with my manager? Kind of the mirror image of what I expect from my direct reports:

1). Status updates on current projects

2). I'll ask for my manager's opinion on my approach to a solution. If they say it's fine, I'll note that (good for CYA); if it's not, I'll ask for their thoughts, or demonstrate having tried their way (if I have), or my estimation of the success of that approach. I try to do all of this in a way that lets me gauge how invested they are in said project. If their answer is all generalities, they're not likely super invested. If they can talk specifics, then I assume that I have support if I need it.

3). Ask if there's anything else we haven't discussed.

4). Get to know them; managers are people too, and you can help yourself by being in their good graces.

I'm a senior engineer, so let that color the content of my discussions.

First thing I talk about is project status. Usually this is just to catch them up, but it's also a test to see where he's at in his understanding of our successes and challenges. That opens up a conversation for the next stretch of road we think we'll build (aka what should we do next quarter).

Then we'll usually talk about whatever. Twice a year I make it a point to talk about promotions and what work they're doing to help me get there. I have this conversation because most managers believe promotion work is all your work until you're promoted, then they'll claim some subset of your success for their own. This pattern reminds them if they want me to grow, they need to invest and lay plans.

Next is mostly just personal stuff. My manager is pretty adept around home repairs and I'm still learning so I usually get some good ideas from him.

Check out the classic Rands article “The Update, the Vent, and the Disaster”, written from the manager’s POV: https://randsinrepose.com/archives/the-update-the-vent-and-t...

1-1's are probably useful for the very ambitious types who want to climb the ladder as they can make their manager clear the path for them.

For people who want to stay in their current role and just keep doing their job as well as they are paid to do it, 1-1's are like pulling teeth and a huge waste of time.

I think you should look for a manager that gives you actionable advice that allows you to have large impact. Some people think that it is your job to figure out how to have large impact (which I agree) but I have found that there are managers who don't care, don't know or who want to keep you working on projects that will not have impact. I strongly recommended networking (reaching out to coworkers to learn how much their managers are giving them specific and concrete direction) to find the managers that care enough to proactively improve the careers of their reports. Then you want to transfer to those managers. It is a total waste of time to manage your manager. If your manager isn't telling you how to get promoted then you should find another manager.

I have a bunch of 1-1's with my team but I tend to tell them it's not necessary unless there's something in particular they need to bring up. If business as usual, then skip it and focus on work. I'm not entirely sure if that's the right approach though. Thoughts?

Changed 10 managers in 5 years so I stopped caring what we're discussing in our 1-on-1s after a while.

At my previous job, my manager and mostly of my colleagues was 7 hours ahead, so I was struggling a lot in the first months and I was feeling a bit abandoned. Then me and my manager, agreed to have a regular 1-1 weekly meetings to discuss the open points and the difficults that I was facing. This was a big improvement for me but also for him to have an idea of what I was doing. We also discussed about strategies and roadmaps in our projects and sometimes about our future because we faced at least three fully reorg starting from C-level. He also gave me some feedbacks about my job and my approach. For me this weekly hour was a gold mine.

My actual manager is in my timezone and the whole team usually meet everyday for a 30 minutes daily sync, so no need for a dedicated 1-1.

An interesting detail I have seen in a bunch of my 1:1s is that I have more often found us talking about other employees performance, project direction, decisions. That's probably a good thing or signs that your manager is completely clueless on what is going on.

1:1's are your best chance to improve your personal relationship with your manager, especially if you are remote. He must like you and must not ever feel threatened by you. Anything else is secondary as long as your work is at least "satisfactory".

1-on-1 meetings with your manager can be an incredibly valuable opportunity to discuss your progress, get feedback, and address any concerns you may have. To make the most of your 1-on-1 meetings, it's important to have a clear agenda and specific topics to discuss. Here are a few ideas of what you could talk about in your meetings:

Goals and objectives: Discuss your current and upcoming goals and objectives, and any challenges you're facing in achieving them. Review progress and talk about what you need from your manager to help you achieve them.

Feedback and development: Ask for feedback on your performance and areas where you can improve. Talk about what you're doing to develop your skills and any opportunities for training or development that you're interested in pursuing.

Career development: If you're interested in moving up within the company, discuss your career aspirations and any potential opportunities for advancement. Talk about what you need to do to prepare for the next step and what the company can do to support you in your career development.

Communication and alignment: Make sure that your manager is aware of what you're working on and that you're aligned with the company's goals and objectives. Communicate any problems or issues you're facing, so they can help you find a solution.

Current projects and work: Give an update on current projects and work, share any successes or difficulties, and discuss any upcoming deadlines or deliverables.

Personal and team updates: Share any personal news or updates and also, if there's any team-level update you've noticed that's worth mentioning.

It's important to keep in mind that 1-on-1 meetings are not just for discussing business-related topics, it's also about building a strong professional relationship with your manager, which is key for career development.

Finally, it's also important to remember that 30 minutes may not be enough time for deep dives into certain topics. If you feel that a 30-minute time slot is not sufficient for a topic you would like to discuss, you can request more time or schedule a follow-up meeting.

Weekly??? Sounds like one thing to talk about could be the frequency of 1-on-1 meetings.

My introduction to 1:1 was with a notably bad manager and that has given me a bad taste for them.

Once a week is a horrible schedule. That's a regular production killer as you need to task switch from focused work up to the corporate game level. Before the meeting I spend time thinking about what to talk about and after the meeting I need to refocus, which takes time.

During the meeting I try to keep things light and social and parse the information I share with consideration of my manager's ability to handle it. I also have to consider how my dislike for the meetings might be perceived as hostility by my manager and be harmful to my career.

Yes, I hate them.

It's okay to skip 1:1s if there's nothing to talk about. I think it's more important to have a standing meeting were both parties know they can bring up "serious things" than to use every standing meeting to its fullest.

As to what I talk about during my 1:1s, if it's not just bullshitting with my manager and building rapport, it's usually "this thing is hurting me/our team. What can we do about that?" Or "I feel like I'm kicking ass. How can we raise my awareness to the org?"

Basic questions that I would like a sync answer to and to give space for any conversations that need to happen.

With technical managers: how things are going, what needs to be solved to speed things up, what is holding the progress up.

With non-technical managers (which I would expect to have 1:1s in the first place):

- How it is going

- How the team is doing

- What I need

- How my life is

- How his kids are

- What I would like to see happening in the team or company

Usually if this is a team manager, he had zero insight from the daily progress or process (why should he). So to see where problems need to be solved for the team, whom to promote or move into another position, etc. can only come from such meetings. And he also needs personal, confidential opportunities for that.

Not everyone is vocal, not every team member understands what is a problem or an issue in the first place...

Make it whatever you want it to be. This could include:

-- Asking about upcoming projects -- Asking about things happening in the business outside your group -- Sharing about tech that interests yo -- Discussion about his / her career goals and your own. -- Discussion about opportunities for long-term improvement in whatever you are building. -- Sportsball, social plans, and other chit chat

Basically, make it whatever you want and/or maybe even talk candidly and ask what they would like to see in your meetings so that you can come prepared and make the time worthwhile.

1:1 are for building relationships and talking about long-term goals, in work or otherwise. It's also a good time to discuss big picture goals, seeing where the work you're doing fits into the grand scheme of things (at least within the company)

This goes both ways: if you're the direct report, it's best to build rapport with the manager so you can work more smoothly and especially to get that raise or promotion later on.

I guess sometimes its hard to build the relationship for some people, but often it does take time.

I used to have both good and bad managers.

Good ones mentor, teach something new, explain what's happening at the company.

Bad ones give you shit in some form, inject gossip into the conversation, try to cover their ass.

I also believe that one week and 30mins are are not enough for 1-on-1s.

In my company, we do 1-on-1s once a month for 1 hour. The manager asks questions like:

- How are you? - What's the skill that you are trying to improve this month? - How I (the manager) or the company can help you to improve this skill? -Do you feel that your responsibilities in the company are common with your personal goals?

I think that these meetings are successful when there is a clear agenda and both sides are prepared.

Personally, I feel very happy with these meetings.

> Do you feel that your responsibilities in the company are common with your personal goals?

That’s funny. Why would they be?

It's just a meeting to maintain the relationship with your manager. From your point of view, a good relationship will mean better opportunities in your company, pathways to promotions and salary increases and the opportunity to build trust. From the managers point of view it increases staff retention, it allows them to understand what people are doing and what they're working on and it allows them to know _who_ is doing the work for them at a more personal level

Its weird, Ive worked in development since ~2005 and I have never had recurring 1-on-1s with a manager. Every single place (including 10+ years of consulting) has had some form of scrum, where the scrum master is different from the manager, and the manager is not mandatory in the scrum itself. So the teams manages itself, with maybe occasional input from managers. Mostly managers arrange other meetings, often with the entire team though, but on a several week interval.

Standard topics for me are:

1. What's up? (chewing the fat about any relevant life topic)

2. My frustrations with the process and possible improvements.

2.1 Followup to recent changes in this area.

3. Experience with recently developed/released features.

4. Follow-up to company wide changes (related to things such as layoffs, direction changes, etc.)

I used to not be a fan of 1on1s while working on-site but since I've started full-remote it has become more valuable time for me since that's basically the most time I spend with my lead in a sprint or two.

The mission of your manager is to help you to be productive. So this is one obvious theme: what is going on, what is holding you back, how your manager can help you to circumvent the obstacles.

Another theme is getting a helicopter view of what is going on with the company and the product. ICs are tend to have a tunnel vision on their tasks on hands. Getting a bigger picture helps tremendously to be more productive by forming informed decisions on the priorities.

If there's anything that needs to be discussed, we discuss it, good or bad.

Otherwise, we fill the rest of the 30 minutes with discussions about the weather, our hobbies, our daily lives. Given I work fully remotely and live alone (but do maintain a relatively good social life, nonetheless), this is one of the few work meetings I actually look forward to. I'm lucky that my line manager is a really nice person who shares many of my interests and hobbies as well.

We're a mostly-remote company doing cooperative and independent project work, so these meetings are a bit more socially-oriented. We talk about whatever. Our pets, our hobbies, sometimes small work things that come up that I need to prepare for. Same goes for talking to my VP.

We hold some in-person standup, but mostly via slack on that and we sometimes do a more impromptu video call among concerned parties. It's mainly because it helps to see each other on cam.

My goal is to end the conversation as soon as I can to get back to work, so I stay away from many topics and just basically give a status update on in progress and next up.

It's overdone, IMHO. Should be at the discretion of either party after a certain period of time. Doesn't need to be a forever weekly or even biweekly routine.

You say 30 mins isn't enough for deep dives. Can you change from 30 mins every week to 60 mins every two weeks to allow more time for in-depth discussions?

If you don't have anything to say, why not simply start the conversation with "I don't have much to talk about today. I could give you a quick update on my progress since last week. Is there anything you would like to take up first?"

If there's nothing else to talk about 5 minutes into the meeting, just end with "I don't have much more to talk about today. Let's meet again next time?"

A useful acronym to follow is PPP: plans, progress, problems. This can apply to tactical day-to-day work or higher-level things like career development.

1. I need X Y Z, can you get me it? 2. Here is what I am worried about. What are some things that you are worried about?

Usually takes the 15 mins for coffee

We use https://lattice.com/ for our people operations and managing 1:1s. Some suggested talking points they recommend include:

  career growth 
  collaboration / teamwork 
  engagement / morale
Action items include setting growth areas and defining OKRs

Weekly is a bit too often. Bi-weekly should be sufficient. These meetings just guarantee that every employee at the firm is getting regular guidance from their manager, and giving feedback. It reduces the risk of people doing undesirable things due to isolation. Aside from that, if you are very engaged with your projects, it did be easy to chat about them.

My staff and I talk about anything they want. What's bothering them, what they want to do, things they are excited about. I don't want a status update from them, that's what stand ups are for. I want to know how are they doing and how they can be in a better spot than they are now. It's literally about them and nothing else.

I send an email in advance with the 3 or 4 priority things I want to talk about, and if there's nothing to discuss I just say that and we cancel. Usually it's key work updates, if there's any help or information I need. I've never had a direct report of mine take the lead like that, bit I wish they would!

Hey there! I feel your pain. I used to be in your shoes at a bigco too. I'm testing an app in closed beta and getting great feedback already. I would love to get your feedback if you're interested. All those who are interested DM me on twitter @muthax I'll send you a link back.

As a person leader, I typically followed a pattern which I think I found here.

Ask them how they're doing. Ask them if they have any blockers. Ask them if how I can help them with any of their blockers. Ask them what has been done on the blockers since last meeting (if they're holdover).

Seemed to be a reliable pattern for myself at least.

shameless plug: I've been on working on an app for 1:1's plus tasks using AI for the past 2 (after many pivots). It is self hostable. https://www.atomiclife.app/. Will have github repo up soon and a formal Show HN.

I never had 1 on 1s with the Manager more then once or twice a year. It was mostly about salary, contracts and maybe some performance review.

Casual one on ones if you meet in the office I mostly used for chit-chat. Managers do so much heavy stuff, so keeping it light should benefit the relationship.

Just propose to do a bi-weekly instead?

A 30 minute weekly 1on1 meeting sounds like a waste of time to me. Monthly, maybe. Quarterly? Fine. Ad-hoc when needed? Ideally. Personally, I opt out. My recommendation is to talk about making them less frequent if you (as expected) have nothing meaningful to really talk about.

More pay, more wfh, better working conditions. I just shoot the shit if all of all of those are good.

We got rid of weekly / monthly one-on-ones and instead just assigned a counselor

A LOT of employees didn’t like doing them, and this has worked very well. Issues bubble up through the counselor and managers can focus on the project

This has worked very well (I’m also at a very big bigCo)

Looking back now retired - I think I was always too keen to get out of those meetings to get the value out of them that I should of. A manager is the best resource to help you with your career - setting goals and helping you achieve them.

What went well this week

What could have gone better

what processes need improvement

Career/personal/project growth and updates

1) Wins for the week

2) Losses for the week

3) Ongoing struggles

4) Professional development

5) Is there anything I can do to make your life easier?

Do you prepare an agenda of topics you want to discuss?

I prefer 1:1's to be your time. If weekly is too frequently for that, you should be allowed to schedule it on a frequency that works better for your needs.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact