Good quality 1-1s are important. Great line management can help reduce stress on senior leadership, improve retention, and help scale the business. People feel more engaged and excited about their career progression when they’re well supported. This article focuses on the importance of great feedback in management.

In this sort series of articles we explore some of the key components to great 1-1 conversations. Today we’re looking at giving and receiving feedback, this is part 3/5.

  1. Creating psychological safety
  2. Asking great questions
  3. Giving and receiving feedback (today’s article)
  4. Handling uncertainty and complexity
  5. Ensuring growth and progression

Good feedback builds trust and improves people’s effectiveness at work. It also helps improve retention and creates motivated and engaged workers. We see 1-1s as valuable opportunities to deliver great feedback and here’s how.

Ask for feedback on something specific

This might seem obvious but it’s amazing how few managers do this. You can model this by arriving to your 1-1 with something specific that you would like feedback on. Make this relevant and recent.

For example; ‘I’d love some feedback on how you felt I lead on our recent quarterly marketing meeting.’ That’s a great start. You could zoom in on asking about the questions you asked, or the way you bought the meeting to a close.

This will encourage your 1-1 to ask for similar kinds of feedback. It creates a safe space and shows you are willing to receive feedback on your work.

It can help to set a specific topic for your 1-1 to work on during the previous meeting. This might be their time management, or decision making, or something similar. You can then open the conversation with a short piece of feedback about this topic.

When…. I feel… because…

This is a really good, simple and short structure for a feedback conversation. Rather than having too much of a structure in place I recommend using these sentence starters to bring topics into the conversation for discussion. Once you’ve shared a topic you’d like to discuss with your 1-1 then you should ask: What do you think?

That means you’ve offered your perspective, and then invited their participation in the conversation. Doing so means it’s no longer a one way conversation but something that feels more collaborative.

Talking about how you feel is a great way to share constructive (or ‘negative’) feedback. It helps open up the conversation for further discussion. Once you’ve got the topic on the table for discussion try to ‘sit alongside’ your 1-1..

Sit alongside your 1-1, not opposite

Either do this physically or metaphorically. Or both. It makes a huge difference. Have your 1-1 feel that you’re a partner; together you’re helping solve issues that are arising in work and you’re asking questions that show you’re curious about learning more from their perspective. We looked at perspective taking in our previous post about asking great questions.

Bring curiosity, wonder, try to find out what you don’t know about the issue. Bring an awareness of the complexity of many work related issues. This means that you’re aware that things often don’t have a simple fix – if they did your report would probably have done that already.

Try to be OK with not needing to arrive at solutions. You might instead like to focus on creating a safe to fail experiment. This means you’re aiming for having a direction that work is moving in, without needing a concrete destination. Make these experiments small, pragmatic and fast moving. This will give you great content to discuss in your next 1-1


These three starting points will kick-start your feedback conversations. Have a go and experiment. As Jennifer says in the above video – remember to be playful and bring a sense of lightness to your conversations. That can go along way.

If you are curious about how Treeka could support great management throughour your organisation then get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.