How to Run an Radical Candor™ One-on-one Meeting
One-on-one meetings are a key part of the Radical Candor™ approach to leadership. They are an opportunity to bring kindness, clarity, specificity and sincerity to your interactions with your team members. Here's how to make the most of them:
Why Run This Meeting?
One-on-ones are an important opportunity to check in with your team members and see how they are doing. They are also a chance to give feedback and coaching. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but it is important to have it regularly. Why? Because it is a way to communicate your care and concern for your team members. It is also a way to get to know them better. It is likely that you have different relationships with each of your team member. One-on-ones are a way to ensure that everyone feels a connection to you and is able to communicate their needs and concerns to you.
How Long, How Often, and Who's Invited?
One-on-ones should last about 60 minutes. They should be scheduled as needed, but at least once a week. Only the team member and the leader should be invited to the meeting.
Ideally they are routine. Same time/day every week.
What to ask in a Radical Candor™ One-on-one Meeting:
1. What's on your mind this week?
This is an opportunity for the team member to share anything that is on their mind. This can be anything from work concerns to personal issues. It is a chance for the leader to show that they care about their team member and their well-being. If they are going through an emotional or personal crisis, they might not feel comfortable expressing it. So, it is up to you to create a safe space for them to do so.
2. How happy were you this past week?
This question is designed to get a sense of how the team member is doing emotionally. It is important to check in on this regularly, as people in certain roles can change from energized to burnt out quickly. It is your job as a manager to help them find balance.
3. How productive were you this past week?
This question is designed to get a sense of how the team member is doing professionally. It is important to see how they are feeling about their work and to give feedback accordingly.
4. What feedback do you have for me?
This is an opportunity for the team member to give feedback to the leader. It is important to create a space where team members feel comfortable giving feedback, as it can be difficult to do so.
Be prepared to hear things like:
- "I am having a hard time aligning my work with the overall strategy of the company"
- "It is hard to tell which of the many things you mention each week is most important to you"
- "I am frustrated by the process for making decisions in our group"
- "I feel my contributions aren't valued as much as others"
After the Meeting
One-on-ones are a valuable opportunity to check in with your team members and give feedback. They can be difficult conversations to have, but they are important for the health of your team.
Ensure you finish taking your notes. Share them. And follow through on any of your next steps. This is how you demonstrate to them that you are doing more than just talking to them.
About the author
Kim Scott is the author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity and the co-founder of Radical Candor LLC. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter and several other tech companies. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA from Princeton University. The author of three novels, she and her husband Andy Scott are parents of twins and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.