Great Questions for Improving Performance through 121s

I recommend that you divide your 121s into three sections.
The first 10 minutes are for your team member to share what matters to them – but the second 10 minutes are yours.
The art of using this time well is to have some really well chosen and insightful questions.
Some of the questions that I think have been most effective for me are:

  • What else should I know about your work?
  • What would you like to tell me about this organisation?
  • Where do you see opportunities that we do not exploit?
  • Where do you see problems that we have not yet recognised?
  • What would you like to know from me about the organisation?
  • What do I do that you would like me to do more of?
  • What do I do that wastes your time without contributing to your effectiveness?
  • What would you like me to start doing?

Now some of these questions require that you have a pretty strong relationship already, so they are probably not for the very first 121 meetings. Wait until you have developed some rapport and trust.
It is important that you are prepared to listen to the answers and respond effectively.
If you are not prepared to act on the response to a question, or fully explain your reasons for not acting, then it is best not to ask the question.
Remember – this is a 121. It is not the Spanish Inquisition. You will probably not have time for more than 1 or 2 questions – especially if you are also using the 121 to give feedback and to coach (which you should be!). 121s are about regular, frequent conversations that allow you to cover ground over a prolonged period of time. So don’t rush it.

What questions have worked well for you in 121s?

More great questions here.

Performance Improvement with Brilliant 121s

One-to-ones are weekly, structured, half hour meetings held individually with each of your team members. They provide the bedrock for an effective trusting relationship that is essential for high performing teams.

The most common excuse that managers give for not using One to Ones is that they will take too much time. In practice, managers who use One to Ones effectively report that they actually save time – lots of time – and improve performance quickly and permanently.

Key Benefits

  • Improve your relationship and communication with all members of your team
  • Find time to coach every member of your team – every week – to improve their performance
  • Save time on line management to invest in thinking more strategically and working on your own projects
  • Shift the emphasis from fire-fighting to creating value
  • Close the gap between practice, values and mission
  • Improve effectiveness, whether in the for profit or third sector

If you would like to learn more about 121s then please click here to find out more about our events.

There are some great 121 questions in this post.