Stolen Reference Advice
Parker was/is very good at extracting legit references, at talking to people, at both real-time processing and going up and down the ladder of abstraction. And more.
A thing he tried to teach those of us involved in hiring was how to get the 'real' take out of a former manager. I won't tell you the whole story because his secret sauce is his, but I will say --- my view on being a manager has changed as I've been asked to do more references.
Employees deserve more.
1x1 meetings are not just the employee's meeting. As a manager, you / we need to do work.
A few simple starts - share the guides that are current and relevant, like this one. Coax the ownership. Embrace the silence. Make another manager your accountability partner. Write the reference you'd have to give someone looking for a new job and sort out how to share before they have to beg you for honesty.
If you're like me, future you will thank you.