Feel like there is a wall between you and your team? Managers who consistently check-in with their team members triple the levels of engagement. It can help you build a mutually trusting relationship, improve communication, increase productivity, identify growth areas, and foster a positive learning community. If you want to be a successful leader, here is everything you should know to run effective check-ins:
Schedule regular check-ins
Regular check-ins guarantee collective success. The more you know about what happens when you’re not around, the better you can guide the project. Plus, every team member will have time dedicated to their professional development. Also, schedule weekly or bi-weekly team check-ins to review analytics, strategy, review project progress, and ensure everyone is in the know.
It’s helpful to establish a regular meeting cadence so that everyone is prepared and aware of any necessary requirements.
Managers should come to each check-in meeting prepared with goals and an agenda. Your agenda can contain project updates, individual goal progress, overall company notices, feedback, and more. Agendas organize the meeting to ensure the conversation stays on track and covers everything important to you and the employee.
A lot can be discussed in a short amount of time. Notes help you remember small tasks, like providing a password or forwarding an email, that can easily be forgotten. Plus, it prevents redundancy which shows your team members your care and interest in their work and lives.
Tip: use a shared document to track your agenda and notes and to flag any necessary follow-up.
Create a comfortable environment
Not every team member will feel at ease discussing issues or concerns. Your office, body language, and diction affect how comfortable someone is talking with you. Try finding a private location for the meeting and block off enough time in your schedule so nothing is rushed.
Sometimes having an agenda for a meeting pushes managers to prioritize the topics they want to discuss. However, approach each check-in as if the team member invited you. This means you will be more attentive to what they want to talk about first and listen without formulating responses or transitions to the next topic. Active listening also means the leader should always stay curious and acknowledge team member concerns.
No matter how simple the mistake, managers should always promote a learning environment. Constructive feedback should be specific, actionable, and focused on improvement. It usually begins with something positive the team member did before acknowledging where they went wrong.
For example, “You have great organizational instincts to be so proactive in getting that file to the client. However, we weren’t able to peer review it before it was sent. Let’s figure out a system that capitalizes your organizational skills but still delivers quality products.”
Check-ins are also a good time to receive feedback. Not everyone on your team will feel comfortable to speak openly, so offering an anonymous survey can help boost your leadership skills.
Short and long term projects
Every team member is at a different stage in their professional development journey. Short and long-term goals for each employee ensures that you are helping them obtain new skills and reach for stretch opportunities.
Provide learning opportunities
A good manager will help their employees learn from their mistakes. A great leader creates a learning plan to help them improve their overall abilities and gain experience to reach their full potential. Not every manager is a mentor, but there are ways managers can support employees who struggle to stay on top of everything.
Invest in their goals
Managers are in a perfect position to advocate and sponsor team members for future promotions. You spend many hours together and you see them grow over time. The more you invest in each team member’s professional goals, the better the overall team will become.
It’s important to celebrate successes during check-ins to keep team members motivated and engaged. You are acknowledging their work is important to the company and yourself as well as giving praise where it’s due.
When a concern or task is discussed, managers should follow up to ensure that team members know they are being taken seriously and that progress is being made. Following up can also continue the conversation if team members feel they need more support or to adjust their workload.
Sample meeting questions:
- Is there anything you’d like to talk about or any concerns you have?
- What are your current priorities, and are there any obstacles that are preventing you from achieving them?
- How can I support you in your work?
- Are there any areas where you feel you need more clarity or direction?
- Is there a way I can track progress or communicate that is more effective for you?
- How do you prefer to receive feedback and recognition for your work?
- What do you enjoy most about your job, and what could be improved?
- What skills or knowledge do you want to develop further?
- Are you feeling challenged, overwhelmed, or underutilized?
- What feedback do you have for me or the team to improve our performance?
- What do you think is the biggest opportunity for growth or improvement in our team or organization?
- Is there anything you need to feel more engaged and motivated at work?
- Can you share a personal story that influenced your career or work ethic?
- What are some of your long-term career goals, and how can we support you in achieving them?
- What’s something about your job or work that you find particularly challenging or rewarding?
- What do you believe is your unique contribution to our team or organization?
- What skills or experiences do you have that are underutilized in your current role?
- How can we better support your work-life balance and overall well-being?
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