January 30, 2019

Three Questions

A look at three questions that you can ask during your 1:1 sessions with your team members, that will move you and your team forward

Three Questions

My current client recently started having sessions where they provided feedback on various items to their staff members. Even though I am an external contractor, the manager came around and asked us if we wanted to join as we were still part of the team, which I thought was a nice gesture. During this session, one of the things he mentioned was that he was going to have 1:1 sessions with each and every one of us and he was going to ask us three questions. I'm a big fan of 1:1's and am always looking for ways to improve on them, so naturally I was all ears.

The Three Questions

The three questions that he asked were quite simple, and looking at them in retrospect, they seem quite obvious things to ask, but the answers that they provide will give you direction and identify ways in which the team can become better as a whole. The questions were as follows:

Do you have direction?

This question delves into two parts, namely:

  • Finding out if the team member knows where the team is headed in the long term
  • Identifying if they know where they want to go in the long term

The second one is definitely more tricky to tease out if they don't know, but if they do, then you can also use the guidelines here on how you can best assist them to reach those goals.

Are you having fun?

As obvious as this may sound, if your team members aren't happy they will either leave or make it really unpleasant for the rest of the team. Having fun can translate into many things, such as:

  • Are you enjoying the work that you are doing? From a development point of view, this could translate to are you happy with the tech stack you are working with and are you able to achieve your goals.
  • Literally having fun at work. Simply put, coming to work to a fun, awesome team goes miles.

Are there any blockers in your way?

Lastly, if anyone has any blockers in their path that is hindering from being the best that they can be, then those need to be addressed. The best teams are those that are allowed to do what they are passionate about.

Overall, I really think that those questions are great when you are joining a new team, as you get to hear firsthand from the team members on ways in which you can assist them, give them focus and enjoy their work. Personally, I also think that asking these questions at regular intervals, say every 3 months or so, would be a good idea to just keep a pulse as to how everything is going.

Overall, I was really impressed by the leadership of the management here, and I’m keen to learn more from them.

Until next time...keep learning!