Below is my general outline of things I talk with direct reports about in our first 1:1—or very soon thereafter. The goal is to discuss my philosophy of 1:1s, understand the engineer’s preferences, and encourage direct reports to own 1:1s to the degree they are interested. Like the rest of my management docs, it’s a constant work-in-progress—feedback is always appreciated.
- First 1:1—hello!
- These meetings are for you and we can focus on what’s top of mind for you—feel free to drive the agenda to the degree you’d like!
- You don’t have to use this shared doc if you’d prefer. I will for my sake but I’m 100% fine if you’d prefer not to.
- If we haven’t already discussed this, what’s your scheduling preference for 1:1s? Are there particular days or times you’d prefer not to hold this so you can stay in the flow? Does 30 minutes weekly work or would you prefer a different cadence or duration?
- Potential conversation starters for us to talk about as we get to know each other. We can also ignore these and talk about other things.
- Onboarding (if new to team; additional topics will vary by team/company)
- How is onboarding treating you?
- Is there anything in onboarding that’s not going well or I can help with?
- About you
- What kind of work do you like doing?
- What kind of work do you not like doing?
- Where you’re looking to grow?
- Any major challenges on your side?
- Timezone and typical working hours
- About the team (if I’m joining a pre-existing team)
- What’s working well for the team?
- Are there any big challenges for the team right now?
- About collaboration
- Anything you want to know about me?
- What do you not like in a manager?
- What would you prefer a manager not to do?
- I can tell you a bit about what I believe in