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A great question for one-on-ones

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One of my favourite questions to ask in one-on-ones is:

“What’s one thing I could do differently to better support you?”.

Or you can unpack it further by asking, “What’s one thing I could stop or start doing? Or change how I do it?”.

The question does a few of things. It:

  1. Shows you’re there to support your team member
  2. Puts the team member in control of their own success
  3. Builds psychological safety by levelling the power balance

However, all of this positive impact will be undone (and worse) if you don’t act on the feedback in an obvious way.

So, it’s important we:

  • Listen to understand
  • Show gratitude
  • Act on all reasonable feedback

On the (rare) occasion you’re presented with unreasonable feedback, it’s still important to demonstrate understanding and gratitude. And to transparently explain why you’re not going to act on it.

And, whatever you do, receive the feedback in a way that won’t scare people off providing more in the future (many people struggle with giving their boss feedback).

Always maintain a calm and balanced composure, even when confronted with inconvenient and frustrating feedback (which can be hard!).

Want more advice on one-on-ones? Download our free Impact Society Guide to Great One-on-Ones here.

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