A One-on-One Worksheet That Gives Power to Employees

To empower people, you must give them some control.

One-on-ones where employees control most or all of the agenda transfer power to employees. But it’s intimidating if employees haven’t done it before.

Create transitions that facilitate paradigm shifts.

If you want employees to have ownership of their one-on-ones with you, send out a one-on-one worksheet with potential agenda items that employees might choose from.

Prepare people to take power.

What follows are potential questions and topics that an employee could use to prepare for a one-on-one where they control the agenda.

One-on-one worksheet:

  1. Goal updates:
    • Project goals.
    • Career goals.
  2. Setting new goals:
  3. Questions:
    • Ask me anything.
    • I wonder about ….
    • What would you like me (leader) to ask you?
  4. Needs, wants, wishes:
  5. Feedback:
    • How am I doing with _____ ? (fill in the blank with something specific.
    • Where might I be better?
  6. Feedback for leadership:
    • Tell everyone about some leadership behavior/quality you are working on and invite them to discuss it with you.
    • Ask for one or two suggestions on how to make meetings more effective, for example.
  7. What’s working in your area? What’s making it work?
  8. What could be better in your area? How might we make progress in that area?
  9. Praise:
    • When I see you at your best, I see you…. (This could go from you to them and/or from them to you.)
    • What strengths do you see in me?
  10. Problem solving/Opportunity seizing
    • What problem might we work on?
    • What opportunities could we develop?


Begin the first one-on-one that employee’s control with one of these questions.

  1. What three things might make our one-on-ones more useful?
  2. What’s true of the best one-on-ones we’ve had?
  3. If we had a perfect one-on-one what would happen? What would be the result?

What would you include on a one-on-one worksheet that helps employees take control of their one-on-ones with their leaders/managers?

**This post comes from a reply I just sent to a reader on this mornings post. I thought you might benefit.

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