The 2×2 system helps managers and staff members regularly reflect, share feedback, and discuss how the work is going. The manager and the staff member each share two things that each person is doing well and two things that they could do better (alright, it’s more like two 2x2s—your own self-reflection and your feedback for the other person). For the staff member, the focus is on their performance; for the manager, the focus is on their management of the staff person.
As you’re preparing to share your feedback or self-reflection, keep the following in mind:
Share specific observations.
Ground your feedback in concrete examples or artifacts (such as email communications or work products). Stick to what you’ve observed; avoid judgments or subjective statements about the other person’s intent or character.
Use 2x2s regularly and as needed.
- Regularly: You can institute monthly or quarterly meetings around 2x2s or time them so they occur before formal evaluations. Making 2x2s a regular part of your relationship will ultimately make them easier to do (particularly for your staff person).
- As needed: Name upfront in your managerial relationship that either person can initiate a 2×2 conversation. To build a feedback culture, make sure to celebrate when your staff person initiates a conversation.
Check in about preferences.
We generally recommend sharing filled-out forms in advance of the conversation to give yourselves space to process so that everyone can engage productively in the 2×2 conversation. However, some feedback is harder to articulate in writing and some staff members prefer sharing feedback verbally (these people may prefer to use the 2×2 form as a way to reflect and jot down key points to prepare for a conversation). Check in with your staff member about their preferences, share yours, and come up with a process that accommodates both of your needs and preferences. Sharing feedback and giving each person space to digest is the only requirement.
Download our template to get started (sample included):