One-on-One: Manager Tarot Support

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As a new manager, I sought out tools to support me and make me successful.  As an experienced manager, I realized that some of my tools were already in my own backyard! I’ll mention more about Manager Tools at the end. They’re a solid resource. But so is Tarot. Especially when applied to one-one-one time. When I was struggling to work with my directs in a more authentic and honest way, I pulled out my Tarot deck. When I needed to work through a relationship that was a struggle for me and the direct, I pulled out my Tarot deck. When I needed to learn about how to approach someone because my old habit wasn’t working, I pulled out my Tarot deck. I bet it would help you too.

The one-on-one meeting is a classic.  Some managers use it to their advantage. Some mangers see it as an impediment to achieving their own goals. Sadly, this is the wrong point of view.  The one-on-one is dedicated time with your direct. It will actually cut down the amount of time they interrupt you because they know they have time with you to themselves. You can even encourage that behavior by suggesting that their question can wait until that time. Especially if you know there are other priorities.

BTW – Tarot isn’t a tool for every hour. It’s a tool for intervals and personal growth. It can show you the current path and guide you to continue or alter that path. So I recommend you use it wisely, sparingly, and purposefully. Then let your management skills and human nature take its course. Walk the adjusted path (if that was the recommendation) for a bit and see how things turn out before you turn to the Tarot again.

I run through a few one-on-one scenarios here that might sound familiar to you. You’ll see very clearly where Tarot can be supportive and where Tarot shouldn’t even enter the picture. The time is meant for your direct to manage. They set the agenda. If they run out of items on their punch list then you get the left over time.  So have your list ready!  Here is a few items that you can have on your list and how Tarot can help inform them.

One-on-One Feedback

Feedback in a one-on-one is essential. If you haven’t heard of the Manager Tools Trinity, check out the link above. Positive feedback is always easy and always forgotten.  Don’t forget to give positive feedback! Catch someone doing something right for a change! Feedback can also happen outside the one-on-one, but we’ll stick to the topic at hand.   Here, I’m going to focus on how to handle the more challenging feedback.


The action part of feedback provides space to describe what action your direct took that requires feedback. An action like, “Remember that phone call you made to Sue on Tuesday? You told her the TPS report would be ready on Wednesday and she didn’t receive it until Friday.” The action itself or the mention of it does not require Tarot intervention.  It just is. It has occurred in a past state. It has been observed by you as the manager or brought to your attention.


The outcome part of feedback is letting your direct know what the outcome of their action was or will be. The outcome of the example above might be, “Well, because Sue didn’t get the TPS report on Wednesday like she expected, she had to delay an action item on the Marshfield project and now they company might have to spend an extra $10K.” Again, this part of the discussion also does not need Tarot intervention. The outcome of the action is what it is.

(Tarot comes in next! No more waiting!)


So facts are facts, right? Your direct just heard the replay of their action and the outcome of their choices. How do you deliver the news?

  • What if your direct is in their first 90 days (Let’s call him Jorge)? Someone who is already on pins and needles about performance may have over estimated their ability to produce and neglected to communicate.
  • What if your direct is in their ninth year with the company (Let’s call her Lynda)? Someone who is so sure there wouldn’t be a problem with a couple extra days because another priority came up and doesn’t really know Sue all that well so she’ll just need to learn how things work around here.

You would approach both individuals in a completely different way.

So you make an appointment with your Tarot reader before giving the feedback.

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Mgr: How can I give Jorge the feedback in our one-on-one in a way that doesn’t make him jump ship?  He’s new and really good and I don’t want to scare him off. I just want to nudge him in the right direction. 

Me: Got it. Let’s look at the following: Current situation (a baseline for the event), how you feel about what happened, how Jorge feels about what happened (‘Cause he might not even know there’s an issue), and how you should approach the conversation. I assume you want to get your point across that as a result of this action babies didn’t die, and yet, it’s serious enough he should learn a lesson from the feedback?

Mgr: Yes!

This exchange sets up the reading to provide insight into how both parties see the current situation and how to best approach it for the desired outcome.


Now, our experienced staffer, Lynda, she’s a bit on the less positive side. You want to encourage this tenured employee to learn some new tricks. It’s time discuss how you can provide some coaching to Lynda.

So you make an appointment with your Tarot reader before coaching

Mgr: How can I coach Lynda to take the extra step, to put in that bit of extra effort, and provide any staffer more respect?

Me: Wow. The lifers are the tough ones because they’ve already developed their habits.

Mgr: (Nods in agreement)

Me: Why don’t we take a look at the current situation and how you each feel about it. ‘Cause Lynda may not even think there’s an issue. But if she’s been around that long, the scuttlebutt has probably already reached her, so we’ll take a look at what she may not be telling you too. Then we’ll have a baseline for a current state. From there, I’ll pull three cards to discuss some coaching action steps to address how to get her to shift her mindset so this doesn’t happen in the future. ‘Cause you could pull rank and tell her what to do, but how effective would that be, really?

Mgr: Yes.  All of that. Let’s do that.

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This exchange sets up the reading to be supportive of someone who is ready to manage their trajectory in the organization. Giving the direct ownership and responsibility for their improvement will also set you up for acknowledging their growth and success, or documenting their continued issues so that you can eliminate the non-teamplayer.

One-on-One Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Feedback helps a direct improve in the job they’re being paid to complete. The IDP helps the direct become a more valuable resource and commodity to the organization. Here is where they differ. Using the examples above as a baseline for feedback, the IDP includes less distinct day to day action improvements and more long term personal growth. Think in terms of management training for a direct who is leading a project team so they can build those management skills through workshops, apply on project, and learn with a safety net. Then they can be seen as a manager when a promotional opportunity presents itself.

If your direct is struggling with identifying their IDP there are two ways that Tarot can step in. The first is the easiest, do the reading with your direct. If you’re not in that space and it’s too weird, then try the second option.

Option two is to see your Tarot reader.

Mgr: My direct doesn’t know what to do for their IDP. How can I help them on our one-on-ones?

Me: Do you know what their strengths and weaknesses are? Do you know what direction they’d like to head in? If they don’t know their direction, do you know where they would succeed and would you like to give them that experience?

Mgr: I’m not 100% confident on their strengths and weaknesses. That’s part of the reason I’m here. They’re pretty new and we’re still getting to know each other. They’re good at Excel!

Me: How about if we take a look at their strengths and weaknesses. That might point you in a direction to encourage them to try something new. Like leadership or management or project management, for example.

Mgr: Yes. Let’s start there.

–Time passes, weaknesses and strengths are discussed–

Mgr: So now I know my direct is really good at designing structure and leading a team. I know they struggle with managing people. Now what?

Me: What does that sound like to you? What role?

Mgr: Well. they can’t be a manger.

Me: Why not?

Mgr: They suck at it.

Me: Isn’t that why it’s called an IDP?

Mgr: Riiiiiiiight. ‘K. So I have a couple projects I could pass off and still be available for some coaching. Maybe I could start there. (pieces start falling together in Mgr’s mind) Then they get to use their skills and talents, they get exposure and experiences….yes. Yes. This makes sense.

Now the manager is seeing the situation with her direct in a new light. The objectiveness of the Tarot has provided insight to “lift the veil,” so to speak.

Your Relationship With Your Direct

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How Are Things Going

Every manager has been here. “How are things going?” “Fine.” It feels like being a parent with a teenager. At least, I imagine that’s what it feels like. My memory of being a teenager and saying that to my parents feels like what my directs are experiencing when they tell me, “fine.”

If you are truly worried about your direct and have concern for their safety or well being, then I would recommend speaking to a Tarot reader. You can also recommend that your direct speak to a Tarot reader and refer them if you think it would help.

If you’re just being nosy – STOP IT.

Any Tarot reader worth their salt isn’t going to perform a reading for you to allow you to be spying on someone else’s life. Remember, this is a one-one-one and it should be about the work. It’s perfectly okay to be friendly and ask about family, etc. But if nothing more is offered, it’s none of your business. Just be available if needed.

The Relationship

Let’s say you want to improve the relationship with your direct through your one-on-ones. This is approached like any other relationship, just without the romance filter. More on that topic here and here.

Final Words

One-on-Ones are the perfect vehicle to be informed by Tarot. Especially when it comes to your approach to, coaching, and the individual development of your directs.

Quick plug for an awesome tool, Manager Tools. I believe in the Manager Tools version of one-on-ones because it just works.

Would you like some more clarity on how to work with your directs in one of these scenarios?  Purchase a reading with me today!

I Want Better One-on-Ones

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