Leader's Mindset Series -101 | High Impact 1-on-1 Conversations

Leaders contribute towards success of team members by increasing their engagement through regular 1-on-1 conversations that add value and a positive impact to performance.

Common Mindset: I hold 1-on-1’s to check on people’s progress.

Leader’s Mindset: I hold regular 1-on-1’s to help people get and stay engaged. 

The Ingredients of Effective 1-on-1 Conversations:


Everyone needs to know the context of a conversation – a purpose. It may include performance outcomes, change outcomes (team, departmental or organizational) and/or people related outcomes.

Empathetic Listening

One of the key practices to having effective 1-on-1 conversations is empathetic listening, which results in a deeper understanding of the team members and providing them timely support as they navigate through their challenges.


An engaging 1-on-1 conversation is grounded not just in leader’s or department’s interest but also in team members' interest. This includes making a team member feeling respected, valued and appreciated, discussing growth opportunities and offering meaningful work, providing attention, seeking feedback and input. In short, leaders need to provide conditions including the ones mentioned to drive engagement during 1-on-1 conversations.

Key Practices to Make 1-on-1 Conversations Effective:

  • Check-in with team members for the best suitable times and hold 1-on-1 conversations at regular intervals (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.).
  • Schedule at least focused 30 minutes for each conversation.
  • Prepare for the conversation with areas of attention and interests. Keep the engagement factor in mind.
  • Provide the context of the conversation to the team member to get appropriate attention and an aligned mindset
  • Listen carefully and empathetically by shifting from certainty to curiosity and seeking to learn about a team member’s mindset, challenges, feelings and ideas. Ask probing questions that provide further insights. Pay attention and listen well and summarize your understanding. 
  • Help a team member find solutions rather than solving problems. The insights from the probing questions will help in generating creative thinking and exploring options for further actions. 

Examples of probing questions:
  • When you say that there are barriers for you to complete the projects on time, what does that mean? 
  • How have you approached it so far? 
  • What one thing could you do today to get over the suggested barrier? 
  • How might I support you in taking that action?

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Sahil Sharma
Talent, Learning & Leadership Development Professional | Certified Leadership Coach

For consultation and services, contact us at www.ledxlearning.com