January 9, 2021

Self One-on-Ones

When it comes to the subject of one-on-ones, there is plenty of material available advising on everything from the best questions to ask in one-on-ones to how often to have them. What the vast majority of these literature focus on are one-on-ones that you have with others. From your manager, to executives and your reports. There is however, less focus on a simple but powerful reflection tool that you can use and that is the self one-on-one which I explain below.

What is a self one-on-one?

It is difficult to truly define what a one-on-one is so I’ll borrow a definition from wideangle which I like and is vague enough to cover the plethora of other definitions that exist.

The fundamental reason One-on-One Meetings exist is to give a platform to the direct report to allow them to communicate to you.

Applying this same definition, a self one-on-one becomes

The fundamental reason self One-on-One Meetings exist is to give a platform to you to allow you to communicate to yourself.

Why should you do self one-on-ones?

We have one-on-ones with others because they are useful. They help in career growth, spreading of information and holding of accountability. Similarly, self one-on-ones help with these except for oneself. Self one-on-ones also provide structure/process for the reflection time you may already be blocking out of your calendar regularly. How often do you get to reflection time and are unsure what to think about?

Principles for self one-on-ones

To successfully use self one-on-ones, apply the same principles you use in one-on-ones with your reports to yourself. A few examples are

  1. Do not skip self one-on-ones
  2. Self one-on-ones occur every X weeks
  3. All self one-on-ones have an agenda
  4. Notes are taken from self one-on-ones
  5. Self one-on-ones have a schedule balancing career growth, status updates and well being
  6. Self one-on-ones have action items that are followed on
  7. Go on a walk with yourself if you do walking one-on-ones
  8. Whatever other principles you have for one-on-ones

As you start self one-on-ones, it will be awkward at first; Posing questions and talking to yourself. After a while though, they feel normal and help you focus on your own personal growth and well being.

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