Byte Journeys

Join me as I share insights and discoveries from my journey in the world as a software engineering manager by day and tinkerer by night.

Maximizing the Impact of Initial 1:1s with New Teams

06 May 2024

As I start on a new journey within a new company, it’s the perfect moment to revisit and share effective strategies for initial one-on-one meetings with team members.

There’s a lot of great literature on conducting first 1:1s, and through my experiences, I’ve distilled six key aspects that provide a good enough first insight into the state of the company, team, and individual team members:

  1. Personal Connection: Building a strong personal rapport is crucial for me. Understanding the person behind the professional facade lays a foundational trust that will hopefully sustains through challenging times and times of disagreement.

  2. Current State: I prioritize learning about the team and company from those who have been part of it longer than I have. Hearing diverse perspectives enhances my understanding of the situation that I have dropped into.

  3. Expectations: Clarifying expectations is essential. Whether team members anticipate continuity or change from a previous manager.

  4. Resources: Discussing current resources allows me to assess whether the team has what it needs to succeed or if crucial elements are missing. This could range from additional personnel to support like team-building activities or new laptops.

  5. Style: Understanding each team member’s working style is critical for effective communication and task delegation. This insight informs me whether they require close management or prefer autonomy, but also builds strongly on the personal connection.

  6. Growth: Identifying each team member’s career aspirations and developmental trajectory ensures that their professional goals are clearly communicated. This goes hand-in-hand with the expectation part of these initial conversations.

These discussions typically span 2-4 sessions to ensure depth and focus, and I tend to track these interactions to monitor progress and outcomes.

Engaging deeply in initial 1:1s sets the stage for mutual respect and effective collaboration, laying the groundwork for working together successfully.