As a professional coach, 1:1 meetings are often a pain point I hear about from professionals. Many individuals either do not have a 1:1 with their boss or view them as a waste of time and not beneficial.
1:1’s are meetings between you and your manager. The meetings are usually held at regular intervals and may be determined by many factors such as the level of oversight required, structure of the team, type of information included. Schedules may also play a role in the frequency or timing. These meetings may be as frequent as weekly or as stretched as quarterly.
1:1 meetings provide a platform for the employee and manager to discuss various topics such as key performance indicators (KPIs), departmental and individual goals, employee growth opportunities and strengths as well as a chance to get to know each other. This is also a great time for employees to express their interest in other tasks, projects or positions.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that it is solely the responsibility of the manager to plan the meetings and set the agenda. That would be like saying they are solely responsible for your career.
This is a partnership and both parties benefit from having successful meetings. Therefore, we start with who and what we can control.Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Preparation – Approach your meetings with a positive attitude and ready to get the most out of this time with your manager.
    • If your manager does not have regular meetings with you, start by scheduling time with them. Scheduling time with your manager shows that you respect their time and yours. You want to make sure time is set aside specifically for you without interruptions. Initially, I would not schedule more than an hour at a time. If your manager is super busy, you may want to start with 30 minutes. The focus is quality not quantity.
    • Prepare an agenda and share the agenda ahead of time. The goal here is to make the meeting as productive as possible not to blind side your boss.
    • Be on-time, stick to the agenda and take notes. Being on-time shows that you are respectful of their time. Try your best to stay on topic unless it is imperative or urgent to discuss other items. You will want to address as many of the items on your list as possible. If your agenda is lengthy or if you know the topics will take a great deal of time to discuss, consider splitting your agenda into multiple meetings. Also, leave time for your manager to discuss items they may want to share with you during this time.
  2. The Meeting – This is a great time to obtain and share as much information as possible.
    • During the meeting, be open minded and listen attentively. Take this opportunity to learn from your manager. There is a wealth of information to receive, specifically about you, your performance, your goals, your contribution and your future.
    • Ask questions, get additional information or clarity as required. Here is where the conversation and growth begins. You can get clear on what is expected of you and what your manager thinks of your current level of performance. Also, do not forget to toot your own horn. Take the opportunity to identify areas you have grown in and accomplishments that your manager may not be aware of.
    • Be sure to take notes, you’ll want to review them for follow-up and follow-through. Notes should include due dates and follow-up dates.
  3. Next Steps – The most important step is to follow-up and follow-through. This is where you put the actions behind the words.
    • Be sure to meet any deadlines that you have received and if you are unable to meet a deadline, let your manager know asap. If possible, do not wait until the day the task or project is due.
    • If there are follow-up items, you will also want to be sure this is done timely. It shows that it is important to you. For instance, if your manager offered training in a specific area, you’ll want to follow-up as appropriate.

This is your career and it is time to OWN it. Think of the benefits you get from productive meetings with your boss. Decide today what you want to receive from these meetings and the best approach.
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leadership, manager, professional development

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