What are some tips for making the most of weekly 1-on-1 calls between a remote employee and a manager? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Jane Chin, author of Practical Leadership for Biopharma Executives, on Quora:

Whether as manager or employee, I like an ordered, Prioritized Communication Format that allows me to make the most of weekly 1-on-1 calls:

1. Personal Communication.

Personal Communication can and should be as simple as asking a mindful "How are you?" and should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Unless there has been a significant personal development that can impact work performance, personal communication should be brief. Should the call end before its allotted time, which may happen as both employee and manager improve efficiency and effectiveness of weekly 1-on-1 calls, you can return to "personal small talk" and end the call on a pleasant note.

Even though I like to get right into "talking business", I see brief personal communication as a respectful way to greet someone, and also gives us both time to focus on this call.

2. Progress and Projection Updates.

Next, you discuss what progress has been made on the prior period's tasks and whether projected timelines or resource requirements have changed based on expected-versus-actual progress. Progress and projection updates are useful for the employee to stay on task and on track with his or her role, and critical for the manager to know whether attainment of specific team-based goals will be impacted as a result. This typically takes up most of the allotted time on the call.

3. Proposals and Problem Solving.

Even though I categorize proposals and problem solving separately, this should be integral to progress and projection updates; when there are situations or problems affecting progress, employees can help their manager by proposing solutions or alternatives rather than expecting the manager to offer solutions and alternatives. Managers can coach employees to cultivate habits of proposing solutions to problems if an employee habitually waits for the manager to direct. However, if a manager is very controlling, the employee may propose various options and work with the manager to arrive at the appropriate solution.

This week's Proposal and Problem Solving session in turn becomes next week's Progress and Projection Updates, and you've established next week's call agenda.

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Published on: Jun 8, 2016