1-1 meetings

A 1-1 (“one-on-one”) meeting is a weekly meeting between a manager and a person who directly reports to them. Every manager has a 1-1 with each of their direct reports.

The purpose of 1-1s is to:

  • Help both people have a bigger impact
  • Identify and/or address problems that have come up
  • Get to know each other and establish rapport
  • Assist the report’s career development

How we do 1-1s

  1. In most cases, 1-1s should be weekly recurring 25-minute meetings.
    • When a new teammate joins, they set up the 1-1 calendar event.
  2. Create a Google Doc shared with only the manager and the direct report to keep notes from the current meeting and a list of topics to discuss next time (which can be added to throughout the week). {#google-doc}
    • At the top of the doc, put the relevant goals for the direct report so they remain top of mind. {#goals-in-notes-doc}
  3. Use a consistent agenda (GitLab’s suggested 1-1 agenda).
  4. Both people should be contributing to the 1-1 agenda (things to talk about). If either person is not contributing much, that is an indication of a larger problem that you need to solve.
  5. Do not wait for the 1-1 to give positive or negative feedback.
  6. To avoid diluting the meaning of and expectations for 1-1 meetings, avoid referring to a meeting that is not between a manager and direct report as a “1-1” meeting.
  7. If you have too many direct reports to have effective weekly 1-1s with all of them, that is an indication of a larger problem that you need to solve (e.g., by finding new managers for some of your reports, or prioritizing management over other tasks).
  8. When someone is switching managers, usually both the old and new manager should join the 1-1 with the person for a couple weeks (so it’s actually a 3-person meeting).