5 check-in questions to ask in team 1:1 meetings | TeamGantt (2023)

Nobody likes the proverbial my-path-or-the-highway boss, the control freak, or the micromanager. So how do you avoid being a bad manager to employees?

It's all about asking the right check-in questions in one-on-one meetings with your team. These are not staid performance review questions, but real questions that can dramatically increase an employee's morale, performance, and quality of work.

Let's take a closer look at some questions every manager should ask their team on a regular basis to improve performance and build trust.

Individual questions to ask in team check-in meetings

Asking team members the right questions may be the only wayBe a truly effective manager. Here are 5 great questions to ask your team at monthly, weekly, or 1:1 appraisal interviews.

5 check-in questions to ask in team 1:1 meetings | TeamGantt (1)

1. What was your greatest achievement this week/month?

Everyone loves to talk about their profits, so why not start with that? Here are some ways you might phrase this 1:1 question:

(Video) 5 Questions to ask in EVERY One-on-One Meeting

  • What have you been working on lately?
  • Is there a job you are proud of?
  • What are some highlights of your recent work?
  • Any good success stories?

Why this check-in question is effective

  • This question conveys a sense of forward movement and progress. An employee needs to know that things are evolving and getting better.
  • Sharing positive information gives your team member a sense of personal accomplishment. By conveying positive information, they create an optimistic context for further discussion.
  • The answer can give you both power of overview and potential for improvement. You have a measurable way to track your employees' work and see if they're making the contribution you want.

2. What is currently your biggest challenge?

Challenges are good because they make us better. While this question may not have the same psychological boost as the first, it's still important to ask in one-to-one conversations.

Why this check-in question is effective

  • First, you learn to understand where your team member is struggling. You may have no idea the software isn't working or a colleague is slacking off. As a manager, you need to be aware of any weaknesses in an employee's process, work, or even culture.
  • This single question also puts your conversation into problem-solving mode. And a problem-solving conversation is a productive one. They've gone beyond small talk and office chitchat and are actually working on things that have an ROI.
  • You can improve processes, remove barriers andIncrease in team productivity. If you know of a problem, you can fix it. Fortunately, most challenges have a solution.

3. What should we do differently?

Each team member has a different perspective on the company. Your job as a manager is to synthesize all this information and improve the company.

Anyone can add value - and not just the value that comes from practicing a strictly defined job title. Your team can add value by sharing their own management insights.

A question my CEO asks me is:Which processes can we improve?Every week. Same question. I don't always have suggestions for improvement, but at least the opportunity is there.

Why this check-in question is effective

  • It shows your team that there is another way. A good company is dynamic – it adapts to staffing needs, adapts to the changing market and adapts to industry trends. Introducing “Do Different” terminology into your discussions opens up the possibility of change and improvement. This is invaluable for both employee satisfaction and business growth.
  • Team members recognize the value they can provide beyond their job description. As mentioned above, everyone has a bigger role to play in the company. You must take advantage of this post. Your employees need to understand their role in improving the company as a whole.
  • You gain insights that enable you to initiate changes that improve the business. Sure, you can't always respond to every suggestion. But every once in a while, you'll discover some things that really need to change.

4. What resources would you find helpful right now?

use of the wordresourcesleaves the door open to a variety of things - be it a virtual assistant, a bigger desk, a better computer, more meetings, fewer hours, or even a vacation. Just make sure there is a mutual understanding that you can't deliver everything they want every time.

(Video) 6 Tips for Productive 1:1 Meetings with Your Manager

Why this check-in question is effective

  • This question gives you specific, actionable information that you can use to help a team member grow and improve. It also lets them know that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help.
  • You may be surprised by the answers you will get. Sometimes what youthinkYour employees need to be different from what they actually do. You might be willing to throw more people or money into a project when the real need is for a small, inexpensive tweak. You won't know unless you ask.

5. Is there anything I can help you with?

Finally, make a connection that lets your co-worker know that you're not just a manager, you're a human being. This is the most comprehensive check-in question of all, and it can go beyond the office, work, and business.

Feel free to make the question more specific based on things you know are going on in your team member's life:

  • Maybe your employee had water damage in the basement. “You guys had some damage from the flood? Is there anything I can help you with?”
  • Perhaps she is participating in a volunteer project in the community. "You're running the Main Street Cleanup this week. Do you need any help?"

Why this check-in question is effective

  • This question goes beyond purely professional needs and allows you to understand all the personal factors that can affect an employee's job.
  • It helps communicate your interest in a team member's life and growthbuild up trustand strengthens your working relationship.
  • Asking this question in a 1:1 meeting really shows your concern for the success and well-being of your employees. You are more than just a business-oriented manager. You are availableimprove their work-life balance.

5 check-in questions to ask in team 1:1 meetings | TeamGantt (2)

How to make employee check-in meetings more effective

Just as important as asking the right questions is asking them right. Otherwise these questions are useless.

Here are 3 tips for a productive and engaging conversation in one-on-one meetings with employees.

Ask sincerely.

Ask these 1:1 questions with authenticity so your team member will trust you really want to know the answers. You don't read a form - you interact with a person.

(Video) How to have EFFECTIVE 1:1 MEETINGS - Just ask these four questions...

ask humbly.

You ask questions to get answers. In other words, you are asking to learn. Be prepared to hear answers you may not like.

This is not the time to protest answers with a no-can-do attitude. It's time to listen - openly and honestly. Be patient and listen to your team member.

Ask frequently.

Fully transparent answers may not be available on the first try. But every time you ask employees these questions, the gears start turning and the mind begins to flow.

Make these check-in questions a regular part of your weekly or monthly one-on-one to build a positive relationship over time.

Use employee check-in questions to build trust as a leader

Being an effective manager means understanding. You won't understand unless you ask the right questions and listen to learn.

Questions are one of a manager's most powerful tools. Knowing how to use them accurately in one-on-one meetings with your employees is your keyto become a better leader.


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5 check-in questions to ask in team 1:1 meetings | TeamGantt (3)


What do you talk about in a 1x1 meeting? ›

Structuring your one-on-one meeting

Aside from operational task-focused questions, other things you'll want to cover on a regular basis are alignment, wellbeing, growth/progress, career aspirations, relationships. Of course, you should also create space for your direct report to steer the conversation.

What are good questions to ask to team meetings? ›

Top 10 questions for team meetings in 2022
  • What's our biggest challenge as a team? ...
  • What are the biggest time wasters for you each week? ...
  • When's the best time to give feedback on your work? ...
  • How can we improve the way our team works together? ...
  • As a team, is there anything we should START doing?

What are some fun questions to ask coworkers? ›

Quick icebreaker questions
  • What's your biggest claim to fame?
  • What's your best party trick?
  • What is a weird fact that you know?
  • Who is your favourite comedian?
  • Who is your favourite actor?
  • What is your favourite book?
  • What is your favourite movie?
  • What is your favourite song?

What are the best questions to ask a leader? ›

Strategic questions to ask senior leaders
  • What are the biggest challenges facing our industry?
  • How did you get where you are today?
  • What do you see as the next big trend in our field?
  • What are the biggest obstacles to career growth in our industry?
  • What are some tips for success in our field?
Nov 12, 2022

What are 5 things you would include in a meeting agenda? ›

How to Write a Meeting Agenda? 5 Key Steps
  • Establish the meeting type. Not informing your team about the type of meeting they'd be attending can cause a lot of confusion. ...
  • State the objective of the meeting. ...
  • Identify specific meeting topics. ...
  • Allocate time to discuss each topic. ...
  • Include a list of necessary documents.
Aug 8, 2022

How do you structure a 1x1 meeting? ›

Example of a 1-on-1 meeting agenda
  1. Check-in questions (five minutes)
  2. Call-back questions (five minutes)
  3. Main agenda items (15 minutes)
  4. Achievements (two to three minutes)
  5. Expectations/goals (two minutes)
Sep 29, 2021

How do you ask smart questions in a meeting? ›

If you're struggling to ask the right questions, try these tips in your next meeting.
  1. Clarify the purpose of the meeting.
  2. Question the questions.
  3. Broaden your group.
  4. Draw in quiet participants.
  5. Look to sustainability and scalability.
  6. Look for faults.
  7. Identify the next step.
Jun 14, 2017

What are the 4 P's of effective meetings? ›

Use this template to identify and explain the 4 Ps required to run an effective meeting: Purpose, Product, People, and Process.

What are good team Ice Breaker questions? ›

Best Icebreaker Questions for Meetings
  • What sport would you compete in if you were in the Olympics?
  • Who is the better businessman or business woman and why? ...
  • What was the worst job you ever had?
  • You can have anyone fictional as your imaginary friend, who do you choose and why?
  • What would your superpower be and why?
Sep 17, 2021

Why managers must ask 5 questions to empower employees? ›

Managers need to consider these clues -- employees' natural yearnings, satisfaction, rapid learning, glimpses of excellence and total performance excellence -- when positioning people to do their best work and have a positive effect on team and organizational performance.

What are 5 questions should not be asked by an employer? ›

Illegal Interview Questions
  • Age or genetic information.
  • Birthplace, country of origin or citizenship.
  • Disability.
  • Gender, sex or sexual orientation.
  • Marital status, family, or pregnancy.
  • Race, color, or ethnicity.
  • Religion.
Feb 24, 2023

What are some stimulating questions? ›

365 Deep & Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself (& Others)
  • When was the last time you tried something new? ...
  • Who do you sometimes compare yourself to? ...
  • What's the most sensible thing you've ever heard someone say? ...
  • What gets you excited about life? ...
  • What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

What are some friendly questions to ask? ›

Fun (sometimes funny) questions to ask friends
  • What movie or show do you keep rewatching?
  • What makes you choose it? ...
  • What was your favorite game as a child?
  • Which book or movie impacted you most growing up?
  • What's your favorite childhood memory?
  • What is your favorite memory?
  • What is on your bucket list?
Jan 5, 2023

What are the four questions to lead a meeting? ›

Getting Started with Four Types of Questions- ORID

ORID is derived from the four levels of inquiry: Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, and Decisional.

What are some intelligent questions to ask your boss? ›

15 Questions to ask your boss in a one on one
  • Are there any tasks you feel I am neglecting?
  • What specific goals should I work toward in order to improve my performance?
  • What could I focus more of my time on?
  • What would you like me to focus less of my time on?
  • What can I do to make your job easier?
Aug 23, 2022

What are strategic questions? ›

STRATEGIC QUESTIONING is the skill of asking the questions that will make a difference. It is a powerful tool for personal and social change. It is a tool for giving service to any issue ... as it helps people discover their own strategies and ideas for change.

What are 6 things that might be on the agenda of a meeting? ›

While the subject of your meeting will influence your final agenda draft, most meeting agendas will include the following six items:
  • Meeting participants. ...
  • Meeting objectives. ...
  • Agenda items. ...
  • Time frames. ...
  • Supporting documents. ...
  • Action items.
Sep 26, 2022

What does a good team meeting agenda look like? ›

Talking points to include in your team meeting agenda

Company news and announcements. Corporate employee engagement plans and events. Team and staffing updates. Project updates and progress tracking against goals.

What makes a 1 1 meeting effective? ›

The best one-on-one meetings feel like a great conversation rather than a report-out. This means following your team member and guiding the conversation as a form of coaching. This means listening with an open mind, asking high-impact questions and giving thoughtful feedback as appropriate.

What are 1 on 1 guidelines? ›

What is a 1:1 meeting? A 1:1 meeting (pronounced one-on-one or one-to-one meeting) is a regular check-in between two people in an organization – typically a manager and an employee. It's used to give feedback, keep each other in the loop, resolve issues, and help the participants grow in their roles.

What is the rule of 7 direct reports? ›

The rule of seven is a basic axiom of management which states that a manager is most effective when the maximum number of people reporting to them doesn't go beyond a handful, the sweet spot being around a ratio of 7:1.

How do you ask essential questions? ›

Essential questions meet the following criteria:
  1. They stimulate ongoing thinking and inquiry.
  2. They're arguable, with multiple plausible answers.
  3. They raise further questions.
  4. They spark discussion and debate.
  5. They demand evidence and reasoning because varying answers exist.
  6. They point to big ideas and pressing issues.

What should the agenda be for 1 1 meetings? ›

The elements of a strong 1:1 meeting agenda
  • Personal check-in.
  • Overview of ongoing projects.
  • Career growth conversation.
  • Miscellaneous.
  • Make sure your employee is involved in the process.
  • Share the agenda 24 hours in advance.
  • Include thoughtful questions.
  • Take notes.
Aug 16, 2022

How do you structure a 1 1 meeting? ›

Follow these steps to create an effective one-on-one meeting agenda:
  1. Set up the document. The agenda is an actual document that you can see and adjust. ...
  2. Set the date, time and location. ...
  3. Set the objective. ...
  4. Determine the agenda items. ...
  5. Create and share an employee's copy. ...
  6. Update the agenda.
Sep 29, 2021

What questions should leaders ask their employees? ›

6 questions to ask each employee every month
  • What's one thing you did recently you are proud of? ...
  • What were your biggest challenges this month? ...
  • What's one thing that, looking back, you would have done differently? ...
  • What can I do to make next month more successful for you?
May 18, 2021

What is a Level 1 question example? ›

Level #1 Questions: Example

With whom did Cinderella live? What did Cinderella lose on the palace steps? What were Cinderella's slippers made out of?

What are the right questions to ask? ›

Questions About Likes/Dislikes
  • What's your favorite sandwich and where did you eat it?
  • What's your favorite place on earth?
  • What's one place you've visited that you never want to return?
  • What's the best show on TV right now?
  • If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jul 5, 2022

What are six things that may be on an agenda for a meeting? ›

While the subject of your meeting will influence your final agenda draft, most meeting agendas will include the following six items:
  • Meeting participants. ...
  • Meeting objectives. ...
  • Agenda items. ...
  • Time frames. ...
  • Supporting documents. ...
  • Action items.
Sep 26, 2022

Why 1 1 meetings are crucial to your team's success? ›

Increase team agility: 1-on-1 meetings give employees an opportunity to identify and address blockers, challenges, and issues with their managers as they arise. They also give teams an opportunity to pivot if goals or objectives become outdated, so teams can remain agile and adapt as business needs change.

How long should one on ones be? ›

How long should a one-on-one be? The length of your one-on-one meetings is tied to the frequency because you might decide to have shorter meetings more often, or longer meetings less often. If you only meet with your direct reports monthly, schedule a full 45-60 minutes to make sure you have time to cover everything.

What do you say in the first group meeting? ›

Keep It Short and Informal. Before the meeting starts, let your team know that it's going to be a quick introductory gathering, so there won't be an agenda. Once in the room, explain a little about yourself. Consider using business storytelling to communicate your values and what you're trying to achieve.

How do you ask strategic questions? ›

Questions to ask about a project:

How does this project relate to our strategy or to other activities within the organization? How might we involve other stakeholders? What does success look like and how can we set ourselves up for success (resourcing, clarity, accountability)? What are our blind spots?


1. 10 Questions to Ask in One on One Meetings
2. 5 Actions for Effective One on One Meetings with Team Members
3. 579: What do I ask my employees at Check-ins
(My Business On Purpose)
4. How To Conduct a 1:1 Meeting With Your Direct Reports
(Dan Martell)
5. The Basics Of One-On-One Meetings
(Bernd Geropp)
6. 20 Questions to Ask Other Leaders
(Michael Hyatt)


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