Happy Birthday To My 1:1 Questions!
When I wrote the Questions for our first 1:1 blog post six years ago, I had no idea that it’d have any impact for folks beyond my direct team.
But the First 1:1 Questions list has really taken on a life of its own, in a way that brings me so much joy! Creating super simple, hopefully-useful tools is my jam. I see it referenced and customized in managers’ onboarding guides, GitHub repos, Twitter threads, and even published in management books.
I love seeing how folks pick and choose which questions work best for them, add new ones or rephrase existing ones, and learn how to support their teammates on a deeper level. They’re doing exactly what I’d hoped!
These questions are there to use as a jumping-off point; you should customize them to your heart’s content.
I’ve been inspired by the work folks have done with the list (please keep sharing these with me! I love to see them!), which is why I turned the whole thing into a copyable Google Doc so folks can easily replicate it, edit it, and use it for their teams. I’ve also created physical versions for workshops and new manager care packages. I went into even more detail on how to employ these questions in Resilient Management (I dedicated three whole pages of the first chapter to them!).
I’ve also tweaked and redesigned the list a bunch over the years as a result of my own growth and learning. For example, the “most important question” on my original list is now much more inclusive of the variety of ways folks might treat themselves. You can see the update on the blog post and in the book!
If it’s been a while since you read the First 1:1 Questions, I’ve included the list below. I hope these questions prove useful to you as you work with new colleagues in the future.
And if it’s been a while since you checked in with your teammates to refresh their answers, go ahead and use this list to check in :) Enjoy!
Questions for our First 1:1
- What makes you grumpy?
- How will I know when you’re grumpy?
- How can I help you when you’re grumpy?
- In what medium (Slack, email, in person, etc.) do you prefer to receive feedback?
- When do you prefer to receive feedback—routinely in 1:1s, or as-it-happens?
- How do you prefer to receive recognition—publicly or privately?
- What makes 1:1s the most valuable for you?
- What are your goals for this year? And for the next three months?
- What do you need from your manager?
- What do you need from your teammates?
- What do you need from your peers outside the team?
- Human learning and growth requires the right amount of four things: new challenges, low ego, space to reflect and brainstorm, and timely and clear feedback. How are these four going for you? Is there one you need more or less of?
- What’s your favorite way to treat yourself?