How to Handle 1-on-1s


It’s easy to let 1-on-1s become monotonous and basically turn into boring status updates.

While status updates are useful, handle them separately. The value of a 1-on-1 is in uncovering the goals, motivations, and job concerns of each team member. Keep your 1-on-1s engaging and producing results by following these six steps:

1. Remind your team that 1-on-1s are to raise concerns, get coaching on goals, and solve problems.

2. Prepare thoroughly: Review any previous commitments, development goals, and feedback you want to share.

3. Ask your team members to create the agenda for each meeting beforehand.

4. Ask open-ended coaching questions like: What’s going well? What’s not working? How might you (the leader) do things differently?

5. Offer genuine, timely, helpful feedback. 

6. Ask for input on how you can clear the path of any obstacles.

Effective 1-on-1s reveal concerns you wouldn’t hear otherwise. When done well, they heighten engagement and bring purpose to the work everyone on the team is doing.


Leading people is vastly different from working as an individual contributor. Download our latest guide to make the mental leap to leader:

About the Author

Todd Davis

Todd Davis has over 30 years of experience in human resources, training and training development, executive recruiting, sales, and marketing. Todd is currently a member of the FranklinCovey Executive Team where he serves as the Chief People Officer. He is also a bestselling author with two books to his credit, Get Better: 15 Proven Practices to Build Effective Relationships at Work and Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations for Tapping the Unlimited Potential of People.

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