Leaders should start by scheduling a monthly one on one check-in meeting with each team member. These sessions should be held in private. A rough agenda is:
- Discuss what’s going well.
- Acknowledge any adjustments that the team member has made as a result of previous feedback.
- Review progress towards each performance goal.
- Discuss the outcome of any recent training and development activity and ensure it is being put into practice in everyday work.
- Provide coaching for any development or performance improvement needs.
- Discuss the big picture strategic goals and ensure the team member knows how they are contributing to them.
- Give team members a voice.
- Discover any issues preventing the team member from doing their job well.
The meetings don’t need to be formal and should not be template or form driven. A great relationship won’t be developed by asking questions from a form. They can be uncomfortable at first, but after a while managers will find the meetings easy to conduct. Like everything, they need practice to perfect.
It’s important to give the team member a chance to provide upwards feedback. If this doesn’t occur, problems can become bigger than they need to be. Before long, there’s a risk of the team member moving on as a result.
Some non-confronting questions the leader can ask are:
- “Is there anything you’d like changed in the team?”
- “Is there anything preventing you from doing your job?”
- “Would you like me to change anything?”
It’s also beneficial for the leader to gain an understanding of a person’s career aspirations. While it doesn’t need to be part of each month’s talk, the manager should raise it every now and then.