I have always been a big believer in the value of meeting with your employees one-to-one. My mantra was that updates could happen informally in the hallway, but for real professional development to take place there needed to be scheduled meetings that went beyond the nuts and bolts of daily operations.

In my supervisor workshops, I frequently encounter supervisors who wonder what there is to talk about if it isn’t about logistical items or tasks. Here is a list of topics that I have shared:

  • New skills to develop
  • Interests that aren’t being utilized
  • Biggest challenges
  • Long-term thoughts on what could be done
  • Evaluation/debriefing of recent activities
  • What changes could be made to the supervisor/supervisee relationship
  • What could be stopped/eliminated
  • Lessons from something read/listened to/learned lately
  • What is good that can be made great
  • Feedback/progress since the last evaluation
  • What’s the next milestone
  • WHY are you doing XYZ
  • Why are you NOT doing XYZ
  • What do they wish they had the time/resources to do but aren’t
  • How is their staff doing/how to help your employee supervise
  • The organization’s strategic plan – what is it, how can they tie in
  • What is a priority
  • How to effectively deploy resources, what resources matter most to them
  • Ask: “How can I help you be successful?

I believe there is no better use of your time than to have these types of discussions with those whom you supervise. Make it a priority to meet one-to-one with your staff on a regular (dare I say weekly) basis. Start today by scheduling time on your calendar for this critical capacity-building function.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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