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Productive One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meeting is scheduled time dedicated to you. What's considered to be a productive one-on-one? Sure, one-on-one are often used for solving work challenges but it's also about developing the greatest asset - and that's you. How do you make your one-on-ones impactful?

The Most Important Asset is You

Everyday, there is always some kind of workplace challenges to solve for. It's perfectly normal. Even if things are running perfectly, we are always thinking about building a better product, building stronger processes or exerting a greater influence in the market.

As a result, many one-on-ones are often a platform to discuss whatever problems that we need to solve for at hand, or brainstorm ideas to do things better. Sometimes, both you and your Team Leader are so caught up with current issues that you don't leave time to talk about you.

Discuss creating opportunities for you to build wider range of skills. One-on-Ones are investment to your future.

How Do You Structure Your One-on-One?

Do you just show up and discuss whatever that is on your mind? Do you let your Team Leader run most of the agenda? Have you tried owning the entire agenda for your one-on-one meetings before?

I believe there isn't a right or wrong way to structure a one-on-one meeting. The key is to make it most impactful for you.

It's time dedicated to you afterall. Make the most out of it.

If you've been the type who has been just been "showing up" (i.e, nothing planned, just see what your Team Leader wants to talk about), then I highly encourage you to try owning at least 50% of the agenda for once.

I really don't think your Team Leader would oppose to it in any way. In fact, it just demonstrates that you are proactive and invested in your own development.

Talking Points: Future

Apart from current projects and work obstacles, you might also want to take the time to think about your career development and skill sets development. That way, you can carve out at least 20% of the time discussing career direction and creating learning opportunities. For example, there's a role that you would like to take on in future, it helps if you share that with your Team Leader and more importantly, discuss what kind of skill sets you can work on to help you get there. When the opportunity arises, you have built a range of skills that will position you well for the job. If you don't have those skills, how do you create opportunities for you to learn those skills?

Let's think about another example... say you don't quite know what you want to do next. You have some idea of what you want to dabble in. You know what you don't enjoy. That's perfectly fine and it's human. Nobody is going to judge you for that. The key is to carve out time to talk about it. Then what kind of opportunities would you create to let you explore new territories? Maybe it's a joint project with another department, giving you new exposure and perspectives? Ultimately, you are the person who should take full ownership for your own career. Your Team Leader guides you there. It takes time and effort to brainstorm ideas in creating opportunities for you to learn. You should own your own one-on-one agenda to discuss these items.

One-on-ones are investment to your future so that you could be the best version of yourself.

Talking Points: Now

Are you taking care of any projects now? If so, are those projects aligned to your future goals?

How are you performing in your current projects? What are the things you are doing well in? What are the areas you can do better?

"Do better" can be a vague thing.

Are you on track with the timeline?

Are there more efficient ways to get to end results?

Could you have tapped on a bigger network to bring about greater scale and impact?

Are you and your Team Leader happy with the outcome?

These are just questions for you to ponder on. The important thing in your one-on-one is to also understand how you are performing in your role.

You should have a clear understanding of how you are doing. You take ownership of your own performance. If you don't have a good understanding, just ask the same questions to your Team Leader!

Got questions on one-on-one meetings? Feel free to drop me a note here!

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