Running effective 121 meetings with team members is essential for fostering strong relationships, providing guidance, and addressing individual concerns. Here are some tips to help you run effective 121’s:

  1. Prepare an agenda: Before the meeting, prepare an agenda that outlines the topics you want to cover. This will help you stay focused and ensure that you address important matters. Share the agenda with your team member in advance so they can also come prepared.
  2. Create a comfortable environment: Choose a quiet and private space for the meeting where both you and your team member can have an open conversation without interruptions. Make sure the atmosphere is welcoming and conducive to open communication.
  3. Active listening: During the meeting, actively listen to your team member’s thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Show genuine interest and give them your undivided attention. Avoid interrupting or rushing them. Use verbal and non-verbal cues to show that you are engaged, such as nodding, maintaining eye contact, and summarizing their points.
  4. Set clear expectations: Use the 121 meeting to discuss expectations, goals, and performance standards. Provide constructive feedback and clarify any areas where improvement is needed. Use this opportunity to align your team member’s objectives with the overall team and organizational goals.
  5. Encourage two-way communication: A 121 meeting should be a two-way conversation. Encourage your team member to share their ideas, challenges, and suggestions. Create a safe and non-judgmental space where they feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns.
  6. Provide support and guidance: Offer guidance, mentorship, and resources to help your team member succeed. Understand their development needs and provide opportunities for growth. Offer constructive feedback and discuss strategies for improvement.
  7. Recognize achievements: Celebrate your team member’s accomplishments and acknowledge their efforts during the 121 meeting. Recognizing their achievements boosts morale, motivation, and engagement.
  8. Follow up and follow through: Document the key points discussed and any action items. Follow up on the agreed-upon action plan and provide the necessary support to ensure progress. Demonstrate that you value the conversation by taking action on the outcomes of the meeting.
  9. Establish a regular cadence: Schedule regular 121 meetings to maintain consistent communication. Depending on the needs of your team member and the context of their work, you can have these meetings weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Consistency is key to building trust and nurturing strong relationships.
  10. Flexibility and adaptability: Be open to adjusting the structure and format of the 121 meetings based on your team member’s preferences and evolving needs. Some team members may benefit from a more structured approach, while others may prefer a more informal and open-ended conversation.

Remember, the primary goal of a 121 meeting is to build a strong working relationship, provide support, and help your team member grow professionally. Tailor your approach to suit their individual needs, and be open to feedback to continually improve your communication and leadership skills.