Check-ins

I interviewed ten social sector leaders to discover how they go about bringing out the best in the people who work with them, and whether it has any connection to how teachers bring out the best in their students. I’m breaking down my findings into bite-size bits.  Here’s a bit.


Not one of the (successful, inspiring) social sector leaders I interviewed had anything much in the way of formal training early in their career around how to lead and manage and support other people.

There are lots of suggestions out there in the world wide web on the sorts of questions to ask. 101 questions, 20 questions, three (magic) questions… Based on the conversations, here are my five-tips on setting up and running successful one-to-one meetings—tips that could be applied across all sorts of other meetings. And in fact, it’s good to remember that not all “meetings” are meetings, and if you’re going to have any sort of meeting, then it’s worth doing it well.

One-to-one check-ins:

  1. Set up a regular time slot and stick to it
  2. Track key points from one check-in to the next (three columns: last time, today, next time)
  3. Show that you care
    • ask 3 questions for every 1 statement you make
    • celebrate achievements
    • allow space to talk through difficulties
    • be honest
    • explore ways they can play to their strengths more
  4. Connect back to their drive and motivation
  5. Keep your door open so there’s space for them to talk with you outside of the regular sessions
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