How to Prepare for Your 1:1 (For Team Members)

In today’s digital-first workforce, connecting with your team lead might not be as easy as it was when everyone was working under one roof. And with fewer daily run-ins at the coffee bar, by the time you do get together, there is usually a lot to cover.

Fortunately, regularly scheduled one on one meetings (1:1 meetings) are a great way to ensure you get that valuable face time you need to check in on projects, advocate for yourself, and receive valuable feedback.

For many employees, 1:1’s can feel a bit daunting. Maybe you’re struggling with a task or worried you might get caught off guard with a project question. But with a bit of guidance and some thoughtful preparation, you can squash any concerns and instead make your 1:1 an avenue for project clarity, relationship building, and even career advancement.

Your Guide to 1:1 Preparation

Properly preparing for a 1:1 takes a little time, so make sure you set aside 15-20 minutes before your meeting. That may feel like a big ask when things are busy at work, but this time is precious and helps keep your 1:1’s efficient and helpful. So, once you’re ready to prep for your 1:1, run through this quick checklist.

Step 1: Check-in With Yourself

One of the more obvious goals of a 1:1 is to review your tasks and progress.

Start by reviewing your projects and tasks. You can take note of any relevant Critical Numbers that will help measure your performance and jot down necessary updates. If you are struggling in a certain area, it’s always a good idea to develop some possible solutions. But if you aren’t sure how to address them, don’t sweat it! Your team lead is here to help.

Next, check your workload. Are you feeling overwhelmed and need to hand off or reprioritize a project or two? Or, maybe you’ve got some free time and are looking to take on a new task.

After that, reassess your short and long-term goals. It’s always a good idea to step back and look at the big picture. Do your daily tasks line up with your goals? Do you enjoy your work and feel challenged? Communicating your goals is essential as your team lead can be a fantastic advocate for your career.

Finally, reflect on your challenges and victories. What was challenging this week? How did you overcome it, or how could you improve the next time you face a similar challenge? Likewise, celebrate when you’re triumphant! What helped you overcome and succeed? These successes are critical to note, as they can help inform raises, promotions, and other career advancements.

Step 2: Think About Feedback

While 1:1’s are an essential check-in for you, they are also a space to provide feedback for your team lead. So don’t be afraid to speak up about areas of improvement or situations where your team lead really killed it.

You can also use this time to discuss new ideas or potential improvements for the business, your team, or your position.

Step 3: Review the Agenda

After you’ve mulled over your talking points, check the meeting agenda to make sure you can address any of your team lead’s questions or topics. Then, add any of your unaddressed issues to the agenda, if needed.

Step 4: Come Prepared for Open Dialogue 

All that preparation is great, but it won’t make a difference if you aren’t willing and ready to talk it through. So before your meeting, do what you need to get into a good headspace.

If you and your team lead come to your 1:1 with empathy and understanding at the forefront, you’ll build a solid foundation of trust. And it’s that trust that can help you advocate for yourself and grow your skills with the help of your team lead’s sincere feedback and expert guidance.

If you find this article helpful and would like to continue learning about 1:1s, click below to download our Free Guide to Mastering Performance Management with 1:1 Meetings!

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How Align Makes 1:1 Prep a Breeze

Preparing for your 1:1 is essential but often time-consuming. Fortunately, Align can make meeting prep quick and easy.

The huddles tool is a purposefully designed space to keep track of weekly meetings, including 1:1s. Employees and team leads can better navigate continuous performance management with ease by having regular 1:1 huddles and tracking them in the software.

With automation built-in, the weekly huddle can auto-populate your progress on goals and priorities, so you don’t have to waste time pulling reports and searching for key metrics. And with highlighted space to ask for help or share notes with your team lead, you can quickly address roadblocks and resolve issues.

With Align, you can cut down on 1:1 prep time and get back to the real work.

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