1 on 1 meeting provides managers the opportunity to build a great relationship with their direct reports

One-on-one Meeting Questions to Ask

The power of meaningful interactions cannot be overstated. One-on-one meetings, the cornerstone of effective communication between managers and employees, have evolved beyond formalities. They are now seen as invaluable opportunities to foster collaboration, provide guidance, and enhance productivity.

According to HBR, organizations that prioritize regular one-on-one meeting questions and answers experience a significant boost in employee engagement and job satisfaction. The same study by HBR found that companies implementing structured one-on-one meeting questions and answers sessions improve employee’s active participation by 50% to 90%.

As we delve deeper, let’s discover a few essential one-on-one meeting questions and answers you can add to your next agenda to make it more meaningful.

What is a One-on-one Meeting?

According to, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, author & founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Training,

One-on-ones are one of the most important productivity tools you have as a manager. They are where you can ask strategic questions such as, are we focused on the right things? And from a rapport point of view, they are how you show employees that you value them and care about them.

The foundation of a productive team depends upon the rapport and dynamics between its leaders and team members.

What is the purpose of one-on-one meeting?

One-on-one meetings work as a cornerstone for both: an effective manager and an employee. Through these meetings, a manger can touch base with his/her team in a more personalized manner.

A one-on-one meeting is a recurring, open-ended, two-way interaction between a manager and her direct reports, where direct reports are free to speak their minds and open their heart with their manager

Through these meetings, a manger can touch base with his team in a personalized way. 

They give a chance to the manager to understand their direct report’s strengths, weaknesses and potentials. Similarly, one-on-ones also create a safe psychological space for employees to discuss their individual career path, future plans and opinions with their manager.  

One-on-ones are not your regular meetings, where you discuss a task and its scope – it’s a window, for both managers and employees, to nurture a talent and derive valuable insights from an experienced authority, respectively.

The basis of an effective one on one depends upon the quality of conversation which ensues in it.

Many organizations have adopted a system of weekly check-ins, stressing upon the importance of meaningful 1:1s.

However, they fail to see any difference in the attitude and bonding of the teams, primarily because the managers may be conducting these meetings wrongly!  

The purpose of one-on-one meetings is to break the ice between a figure of authority and the team members. 

It helps leaders understand the person behind a designation. This goes a long way in forming cohesive teams that work toward a common goal.

Why should you ask questions in your 1-on-1 meetings?  

1-on-1 meetings

Asking the right questions before and during 1-on-1 meetings can help the manager and her direct reports set the right agenda and steer the meeting in the right directions. 

One of the most common mistakes in one-on-one meetings is not asking the right questions, ether by the managers or the employees.

Its a rare opportunity to build a great relationship and resolve problems and the right questions play a critical role in it.

Questions act as navigators for one-on-one meetings, helping both managers and direct reports steer in the desired direction.     

Also see: The most comprehensive list (550+) of one-on-one meeting questions template.

When direct reports answer questions like what is your motivation level, what were your achievements or challenges last week, etc. before the meeting, it helps the managers be prepared for the meeting, and also give the direct reports an equal opportunity to participate in setting the agenda. 

Questions also help in exchanging feedback between both manager and direct reports. 

Great managers go beyond the regular status updates, dig deeper to understand the employee better, and provide them the career development they are looking for.

If you are using a one-on-one meeting software to share your notes and agenda, you can add these questions in it before your meetings.

In order to make one on ones more productive, we have compiled a list of questions from the perspective of a manager and also the employee, that can get the conversation rolling. Let’s have a look.

One-on-one Meeting questions to ask your manager

one-on-one-meeting questions

If you’re a part of a team and have regular one-on-ones with your manager, this is for you.

Whether you are doing one-on-one meetings with remote teams or with the team that sits with you in your office, the effectiveness of it depends on the right questions that you and your team members ask. 

For example, from an employee’s perspective, a one-on-one might just look like any other performance-related meeting.

But, if you ask the right questions, you can turn it around and make it more personalized.

A one-on-one meeting is not about discussing a project or a task; rather, it is an opportunity for you to share what’s on your mind with your manager. 

This is your chance to let your leaders know your side of the story.

You can make him empathize with your problems and this will help in better performance of the tasks. 

You have his time and attention; all you need to do is steer the conversation in a way that you get maximum takeaways and learning.

Never hesitate to strike a conversation about their life and experiences. The answers you get will help you understand your manager’s point of view better and you will be able to work with them effectively. 

Ask them what their role entails and how you can help them in managing better. 

Also, these questions will help you get an in-depth look into the practices that your manager follows in his career and how he reached where he is. 

You will know what their career goals and objectives are.

This way, you will be able to learn from them and know what they expect from your role in the company.

To make this a simple exercise for you, we have made a list of questions that can help you have an impactful one-on-one.

To know more about your manager: 

  1. What is the most important achievement that you hope to accomplish someday in your career and current role? 
  2. What are your goals for your career? How do you plan on achieving them? 
  3. How do you feel when an employee gives you feedback? Can I do the same?
  4. What do you think is okay for me to expect from you?

To know about your manager’s role in the company: 

  1. What does your boss expect from you? 
  2. Can you tell me more about your work and management style?

To receive and give feedback:

  1. Is there anything that I should do differently? How do I do that? 
  2. What is the reason for hiring me? Am I living up to your expectations? 
  3. What is the one thing that I should stop doing at work? 
  4. Would you like to change anything in my position in the company? If yes, why? 
  5. What are the fair expectations for you to have from me? 
  6. How do you think I handled the x project? Could I have resolved it better? 
  7. Is there anything that I can do to make our team more successful? 

Also read:- How to give feedback during one-on-one meetings?

To perform better for the company: 

  1. Whom do you consider to be the team’s best performers? Is there anything I can do to emulate them? 
  2. How do you want me to update on the tasks or feedback?

To build a relationship with your manager: 

  1. Do you want to know something about my position in the company? 
  2. How did you decide on the target outcome for the x project? 
  3. What can we do to make our team perform best in the company? 
  4. What do I do that work the most for the company? Can I do it more? 

one-to-one meeting questions to ask your direct reports

What makes leaders stand apart from managers is their ability to inculcate faith in their employees. 

The best way to earn a team’s trust is by letting them know that you care. If the conversation begins with a work-related topic, it sets the entire tone to be strictly professional. 

The key is to ease them into the discussion. Start by building trust by asking them about their personal life. Don’t just look interested, be genuinely enthusiastic about their response. 

Talk to them about their personal journey and growth plans. This can help you learn more about their skills and how they can be incorporated into your plans. 

To make things simpler for you, we have compiled a list of a few questions you can pose to your team members.

One-on-one meeting questions around Remote Work:

  • What strategies do you use to take breaks during your day while working from home?
  • Is our weekly remote team meeting a good use of time?
  • How do you limit distractions while working remotely?
  • Do we collaborate well enough when everyone is working remotely?
  • Which communication method would you prefer to use while working remotely?
  • Do you have a clear idea about your role and the tasks you’re working on?
  • How are you handling work-life balance when working from home?
  • While working remotely, are there any meetings on your calendar you think you don’t need to attend?
  • How is the company doing in communicating important decisions or information to you?
  • What do you like the most about working remotely?
  • Is your current workload too overwhelming for you to be effective?
  • While working remotely, are there any meetings you aren’t a part of but want to be involved in?
  • What’s the biggest challenge that you face while working from home?
  • What do you like the least about working remotely?
  • When you’re stuck with a problem, do you face any difficulty getting in touch with any team members?
  • Do you feel you’re missing out on something while working remotely? If so, what’s it?
  • Do you encounter any problems in communicating with me or the team via our existing communication channels?
  • Is there a difference in your motivation level when you work from the office or when you work remotely?
  • Have your relations with the team members changed while being remote?
  • Do you feel relaxed or stressed while working from home? How can I help in case you feel stressed?
  • Do you think our company has a remote work friendly culture?
  • Do you want to suggest any tools to improve our collaboration?
  • Can you think of an instance where our communication faltered and it impacted your work?
  • Are you satisfied with the information you’re provided to complete most tasks?
  • What can I do to make remote work easier for you?

One-on-one meeting questions around Feedback:

  • Are you happy with the amount of feedback we give to each other in the team?
  • Do your peers share their feedback with you? What constructive feedback did you receive from them?
  • Would you like to receive more feedback from me and the team?
  • Is the feedback I give you sufficient?
  • Do you find my feedback specific and actionable?
  • What can I do to provide you more meaningful feedback?
  • Are you able to share any kind of feedback with me openly?
  • Are there any specific areas on which you’d like more feedback?
  • Is there any project on which you want more feedback from me?
  • How do you prefer to get feedback from me?
  • What could I do to ease the concerns you have while giving me honest feedback?
  • What feedback do you have for me to become a better manager?
  • Does it make you uncomfortable to share constructive feedback with your colleagues?
  • Whom do you get valuable feedback from the team?

One-on-one meeting questions around Goals:

  • What are some of the goals you would like to achieve in the next quarter?
  • Do you see yourself making progress on your goals here?
  • What goals will be challenging for you to accomplish this month/quarter?
  • Which of your current work is most in line with your future goals?
  • What are your top priorities right now?
  • Do you think any of our team goals are unrealistic and unachievable?
  • On an individual level, is there any goal you feel you might have difficulty achieving?
  • What achievements or goals you aren’t very proud of? Why?
  • What one goal, if accomplished, will have the greatest impact on your life? How would it impact?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of the new goals and expectations?
  • Would you like a mentor to help you achieve your long-term goals?

One-on-one meeting questions around Recognition:

  • Who has done an incredible job in the team lately?
  • If you could credit someone for your success, who would it be?
  • Whom did you help perform better and succeed at work recently? How?
  • Do you feel recognized for your efforts and contributions?
  • What is that one thing I can do to make you feel more recognized at work?
  • What form of recognition would you prefer the most: public or private, new responsibilities, awards, promotion, cash, etc?
  • What makes you feel valued at work?
  • Is there anything that makes you feel undervalued at work?
  • What efforts would you like to be most recognized for?
  • Whom did you appreciate recently and for what?
  • What has been your biggest accomplishment recently that you are proud of?
  • What feedback or praises have you got in your current role?

One-on-one meeting questions around Growth:

  • Do you feel like you’re growing in your role? What makes you say that?
  • What are your long-term professional goals and why do they matter to you?
  • What professional goals would you like to accomplish in the coming year?
  • What new skills would you like to develop to meet your career goals?
  • Which of your professional skills would you like to hone further?
  • What skills are required to achieve your goals? How confident are you in these skills?
  • Do you experience a skill gap that hinders you from reaching your goals?
  • How else can your strengths benefit our team and the company?
  • How can the training programs you’ve attended be made better?
  • What specific training & development opportunities will help you in your career growth?
  • What’s your plan of action to reach your ideal role?
  • Which part of your job do you need additional guidance or training in?
  • What other skills do you have that you feel we are not fully utilizing?
  • What more do you need in your career right now?
  • Whom would you like to have as your mentor?
  • Have any of your future career goals changed since the last time we spoke?
  • How do you see your personal goals aligning with your team goals?
  • Do you feel your future goals are realistic and attainable?
  • What kind of career growth do you value more? (new responsibilities, leading a team, promotion, learning a new skill, etc.)

One-on-one meeting questions around Performance:

  • How do you see your next week at work?
  • What went well at work this week?
  • What type of work helps you make the best use of your skills?
  • Where do you think your skills can be best utilized?
  • What excites you the most about your role and current work responsibilities?
  • What work would you pass over to someone else to focus on new challenging responsibilities?
  • Which additional responsibility would you like to take on to make your role more challenging?
  • Which other projects or assignments you’d like to contribute to?
  • How satisfied are you with your current performance? Where would you like to improve?
  • How do you see your role evolving in the near future?
  • What frustrates you about [Project X]?
  • What can I do to make the project more challenging/interesting for you and the team?
  • What are you keen on learning from the project?
  • What have you learned so far while working on [Project X]?
  • Which project(s) did you enjoy working on the most recently, and why?
  • Is something bothering you about any current or upcoming projects/tasks?
  • Were you in a tough spot at work lately? How you could’ve handled things differently?
  • Is there anything I should know about the project but don’t?
  • How would your ideal job/position differ from your current one?
  • Do you find your current responsibilities in the role challenging?
  • Do any of your current tasks feel redundant and meaningless to you?
  • If you could work on anything for the next month, what would it be? What makes you say that?
  • What according to you will drive your success for the next 3-4 months?
  • Reflecting on last week, what could have been done better?

One-on-one meeting questions around Tools and Resources:

  • Do you have the necessary tools and resources to perform your job?
  • What tools and resources help you the most in your daily work?
  • What tools or resources would help you increase your productivity at work?
  • Are there any tools and/or resources that you rarely use and can get rid of it?
  • Do you have all the information needed to carry out your tasks?
  • What type of work environment brings out the best in you?
  • What’s one thing we can change in our office environment to boost the efficiency of our team?
  • Is there any new technology we can adopt to help you and the team?
  • Do I effectively communicate the information you require?

Also Read: 10 Mistakes to Avoid During Remote One On One Meetings

Let People Elevate Your Relationships with One-on-One Meeting Questions 

One-on-one meetings stand as powerful tools. The questions you ask during these sessions can shape relationships, build trust, and fuel collective progress. Investing the time to understand your team’s aspirations, concerns, and talents creates a culture of collaboration and empowerment. Remember, these meetings aren’t just about business; they’re about people. So, leverage these carefully crafted questions to unlock meaningful conversations, foster growth, and cultivate a thriving work environment. To build a genuinely goal-driven culture, you can request a demo with us and accelerate your business growth by creating an elite culture.

FAQs

Q: What Are one-on-one meeting questions and answers?

One-on-one meeting questions and answers form a crucial communication avenue between managers and employees. These tailored queries are designed to spark meaningful dialogues during private sessions. Managers ask probing questions to understand employee challenges, aspirations, and progress, fostering trust and transparency. Employees also use these sessions to seek guidance, provide updates, and address concerns, promoting a collaborative work environment.

Q: What are good questions to ask employees in one-on-one meetings?

Good questions for one-on-one meetings are those that delve beyond the surface. They encourage employees to share their thoughts on work satisfaction, career goals, and areas of improvement. Effective questions cover work progress, challenges, feedback, and development opportunities. By asking such questions, managers can empower employees, facilitate personal growth, and align team efforts with the organization’s objectives.

Q: How can I prepare for my first one-on-one meeting with an employee?

For your inaugural one-on-one meeting with an employee, preparation is key. Craft questions that help you understand their roles, responsibilities, and expectations. Discuss their career aspirations, work preferences, and any immediate concerns. Focus on building rapport and trust through open-ended questions, encouraging them to share their insights and concerns comfortably.

Q: What are the key one-on-one meeting questions for managers?

In one-on-one meetings, managers should inquire about employee engagement, skill development, and overall job satisfaction. Questions about project progress, roadblocks, and areas where they need support can provide a clearer picture of their challenges. Ask for feedback on your management style and how they perceive team dynamics. Managers can tailor their leadership approach to nurture employee growth by asking these questions.

Q: What’s the best and most effective one on one meeting questions format?

Effective one-on-one meetings follow a structured approach. Begin by discussing ongoing projects and performance updates. Then, move on to career aspirations, skill development goals, and feedback. Being attentive, asking probing questions, and actively listening to the responses is essential. Finally, wrap up by discussing any actions or follow-ups required and setting the agenda for the next meeting. This format ensures that discussions remain focused, productive, and valuable for both parties.

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