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47 Structured Questions To Be Asked / Discussed during the weekly oNe-On-One Meeting


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One on Ones are the most important 30 minutes of the week. The following 5 categories structure the 47 questions you should ask in One on One (1-1s) that we’ve pulled from talking with thousands of managers. Before you know what questions to ask, make sure you know the perfect structure of a one on one.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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47 Structured Questions To Be Asked / Discussed during the weekly oNe-On-One Meeting

  1. 1. 47 QUESTIONS TO ASK IN ONE ON ONES By Jon Birdsong CEO, Rivalry
  2. 2. @Rivalry “The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” -Claude Levi-Strauss “To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” - Albert Einstein
  3. 3. @Rivalry “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” -Thomas Berger “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” - Tony Robbins
  4. 4. @Rivalry Every smart manager knows the key to getting more out of your team is to help them uncover answers to their questions. Asking the right questions is the best way to uncover answers…and even more questions! You want to be a great manager and leader of individuals — that is why you downloaded this book. It first starts with building great relationships with each of your direct reports. Weekly One on Ones are the best way to systematically build great, professional relationships. Often times, One on Ones are stale. It’s either rushed, missed, or mislead. The perfect structure of a One on One creates a formula of deep interest, great questions, and the intent of listening. The following 47 questions have been hand selected by me after talking with thousands of managers. What do they look to uncover? How do they lead? Which questions are the most meaningful? How do you build the best relationship with your Direct Reports? These were all questions I wanted to understand. This book is the start. Sincerely,
 Jon Birdsong
 CEO , Rivalry
  5. 5. @Rivalry Set the Agenda The Weekly One on One is for the Direct Report. It is not for the manager. It is a 30 minute meeting structured around a set agenda. The best managers open the first 10 minutes to the Direct Report for whatever they would like to discuss. Remember, a weekly One on One is to build a great relationship. The better your relationship with your direct reports, the better the results. This requires amazing listening skills and immense patience. The following questions will guide you.
  6. 6. @Rivalry Set the Agenda Questions • Set the agenda for our next One on One. • What are the MUST REVIEWS for our next One on One? • Grade the week. • How are you?
  7. 7. @Rivalry Reinforce Good Behavior Weekly One on Ones should be your Direct Report’s favorite 30 minutes of the week. Highlighting good behavior is critical to making this 30 minutes postive and productive. Too many managers want to dive into what’s not working. Direct Reports can quickly lose confidence and get into a rut. Open up the communication channel to what is really going well. Let them brag about themselves. You will know what get’s them going and motivated.
  8. 8. @Rivalry Reinforce Good Behavior Questions • What went well this past week? • What was the best meeting you had this week? Why? • What was the best conversation you had this week? Why? • What was the best personal development moment this week? Why? • What is your strongest skill that sets you apart from anyone else in the company? • Any new leads worth mentioning since our last one on one? • What did you do last week to develop yourself? • Name one thing you’ve accomplished since the last meeting that you’ve been proud of? • Name a person who has helped you since the last meeting. • Mention one thing you’re looking forward to in the coming week/month? • Mention something interesting you’ve learned since the last meeting.
  9. 9. @Rivalry Address Challenges/Areas of Opportunities Weekly One on Ones revolve around a professional relationship. It is more than just a time to shoot the breeze. Your professional relationship with your Direct Reports generates a level of expectations and commitments. Challenging the Direct Report on Areas of Opportunities is one of the most important jobs functions of a great leader. Many managers get passive and lazy when focusing on the difficult areas. Use the following questions maintain exposure on areas of improvement.
  10. 10. @Rivalry Address Challenges/Areas of Opportunities • What went poorly this past week? • If you could have a conversation to do over, which one would it be? Why? • What was the worst meeting you had this week? Why? • What is the biggest objection you faced this week? • Is there anything keeping you from getting your work done? • What are the biggest time wasters for you each week? • What’s the biggest opportunity that we’re missing out on? • Where are we least efficient? • What’s one thing we’d be crazy not to do next quarter to improve our product? • What are we not doing that we should be doing?
  11. 11. @Rivalry Game Plan Your weekly One on One is the opportunity to strategize and game plan for the week ahead. This 30 minutes with you could change the outcome of the 39.5 hours (at least) they execute throughout the week. Now is the time to focus and deploy strategic initiatives to your Direct Reports.
  12. 12. @Rivalry Address Challenges/Areas of Opportunities • What are your priorities for the next week? • Which 3 opportunities are closest to closing? Why those 3? • What one skill do you want to get better at this week? • What can we do now to promote long-term success? • What is the one thing you want to learn this week (process, customers, competition, etc)? • What suggestions do you have? • If you could do better than the week before, what would it take?
  13. 13. @Rivalry Relationship Building Knowing some of the quirks and unique traits of your team members is a great strategy for building relationships. It’s the different between an entertaining and engaging conversation at lunch or a boring one. Some of the best rapport is developed by forming bonds over the most unique and random commonalities. As a manager, find them out with the help from the following questions.
  14. 14. @Rivalry Relationship Building • What would make you happiest on a work day? • How do you celebrate your birthday? • Where would you travel if you had one month off? • You can only use one social network for the rest of your life! What is it? • Who’s your dream celebrity interview? • What is your biggest pet peeve? • What did you want to be when you were younger? • Pick a drinking buddy. • Pick your next home. • What’s the name of your Memoir? • Best thing you have read lately? • When was the last time you felt really challenged at work? • Is there anything you need in order to perform your job better? • What parts of the business would you like to be more involved in or learn about? • What’s the most fun you’ve had while working here? • What was the best part of working for our company this week? Why?
  15. 15. @Rivalry @Rivalry