Career Advice

Questions Managers Should Ask During Individual Meetings

Emily Totura
By: Emily Totura
Jan 7, 2021 • 6 min read

Questions All Managers Should Be Asking During Their One-On-One Meetings.

We all dread those one-on-one meets with our bosses and coworkers, but developing and maintaining a healthy work environment is important for any business. Depending on the nature of the workplace, the number of times, and for how long you should be checking in with your employees, will vary. You may need to experiment a little to see if you should be meeting with them once a month, more than that, or less than that. Your employees will be happy to have the opportunity to talk about any issues they are facing, ask questions concerning them, and develop a better relationship with their boss. In this article, we’ll share some of our tips on how to host effective meetings with your employees so that you can boost productivity. Keep reading to learn the top questions every manager should be asking during this year’s one-on-one meetings.

1. “How are you doing?”

Instead of jumping right into business, ask your employee how they are doing. Even if you are dying to know how a new project they’ve been working on is going, save it later on in the conversation. Be careful not to ask too many personal questions, but if they mentioned something to you, like how they celebrated a recent birthday, ask how it was. Work relationships should always be professional, but you still need to get to know them. Even more so, if something is bothering them in their personal life, it might be important for you to be aware of it as it could be affecting their work.

Beginning any conversation by asking someone how they are, talking about a sports game, or anything other than work, will create an environment for a more effective conversation. You want your employees to feel comfortable enough to open up with you. Taking the time to check in on your workers and asking how they are will help build trust and a better work environment for each of your employees.

two person with laptop on lap sittig

2. “Is there anything you need to tell me?”

As the manager, you should be the one controlling the conversation. What are your goals out of this meeting? Is there something specific that you need to go over? Is this a new member of the team, and you want to get to know them better? Whatever it might be, remember this so that you stay on topic.

Keep in mind, however, that you still need to ease into it. Asking your employee for any updates will allow them to share with you their goals for the conversation. It’s also better to get these concerns out of the way so that you can focus on more urgent matters.

3. “What are you working on right now?”

It’s always good to touch base. You will most likely have a decent idea of what they’ve been up to with their team, but you should be encouraging your employees to talk about what they have been doing and how they feel about it. Don’t stop there. In asking this question, you should try to understand their goals and how you can help them achieve them.

This could be a small achievement on their team, completing a big project, or even moving to a different team. Workplaces are dynamic, so these topics, if needed, can be discussed during these one-on-one meetings.

questions during meetings

4. “How do you feel working in your current department?”

This question will help your employees open up about how they feel working in their role currently, and it could also help them talk more about their future career goals and plans—this is something you should be aware of to the best of your ability. You might realize that this employee needs more help on a project, more check-in meetings, or networking guidance. Use this time to help figure out what you can do to support your employees more. This question also allows you to gauge the workload of this given employee and the team. They might feel overworked, or they also could feel like they don’t have enough to do.

5. “How do you feel the team is doing?”

This question can vary. You might want to ask something more specific. For example, “How is the XYZ project coming along? Is everyone sticking to their deadlines?” Or, you might want to gear this question differently, asking about the team’s weaknesses. Keep in mind that as you talk about the team, the focus should still be on the employee and their perspective. You will have the chance to ask follow-up questions and speak to other team members, so utilize this time to hear the opinions of the specific employee you are talking to.

questions during meetings

6. “Do you have any questions for me?”

As you wrap up the meeting, set aside some time for them to ask you questions. Since you’re a busy person, they might have questions for you that they never wanted to bother you with. Show them that this is a collaborative environment and that you care about their opinions and problems.

7. “Is XYZ working for you?”

To conclude the meeting, ask your employees a question to better understand if they are happy and motivated in their current position. Like balancing out their workload, people do not work to their best ability when they feel trapped in a job.

As a manager, it should be your responsibility to help and guide them so that they can figure out what their next step is and make sure they are still satisfied working in their current role.

questions during meetings

Final Thoughts

One-on-one meetings are tricky to navigate, each one is so different! Each employee has varying work styles with different problems. Each month, there will be a different task that you are managing. So, those first few meetings will probably not go as smoothly as you hoped, and that’s okay.

Overall, your employees will see that you care. They will appreciate you taking the time out of your day to talk to them (and listen to them too). With time, as you practice, come up with new strategies and questions, and get to know the people you manage, these meetings will become a lot easier, successful, and beneficial.

What kinds of questions do you ask your employees in your one-on-one meetings? Connect with us on social media and let us know!

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