One-on-one meetings with the boss are a powerful way for you to build a strong working relationship with your manager. In the past, communication with the boss has often come after a failed project or during the annual performance review that most everyone tries their best to avoid.
Recently, though, the shift has moved to more frequent communication in the form of one-on-one meetings with the boss. These meetings focus more on the overall functioning of the employee within the team rather than just performance. Essentially, the meetings are a time for you to truly have a say in your role and the company.
In order to make the most of your one-on-one meetings with the boss, consider the following things.
Feedback Is Critical During One-on-One Meetings With the Boss
It’s natural for you, as an employee, to feel anxious about providing feedback to your manager. The fact of the matter is, however, that many managers want sincere feedback but very seldom receive it. The act of employees providing feedback does not come naturally to them. Because of the power relationship that exists, most employees would feel awkward doing anything like this.
Consider how much you long for feedback and acknowledgment in your role as an employee. Imagine being a manager and having no way of knowing if you are doing a good or a poor job. You have to understand that almost no managers deliberately choose to be poor at their jobs.
If you don’t provide them feedback, it will be difficult for them to figure out where they need to improve. The lesson to be learned from this is to treat your superiors the same way you would like to be treated. Don’t be hesitant to share your thoughts and opinions.
With that being said, this is also a time when you will receive feedback. Everyone handles feedback differently, and the thought of receiving it can cause some anxiety in us. We all want to know we’re doing well, and when we hear we might need some work, it can bring about big emotions.
Try not to let this get the best of you. Prepare in advance. If your meetings have been consistent with open communication, there shouldn’t be anything too surprising. If something does arise, it’s fair to express your feelings about it with your boss, but do your best to maintain your composure. You can even practice what you might say in return.
The One-on-One Meetings With the Boss Belong to You
These sessions are for you to update your supervisor on the situation. It’s acceptable to inform your manager that the job is stressful or that personal difficulties are an issue. You should, however, uphold appropriate bounds. Don’t hesitate to take charge of the meeting and inform your supervisor of all that is happening.
Given that the supervisor frequently directs meetings, this would not appear normal. These interactions are crucial and advantageous because of this. It differs from the usual.
There will be things that your boss needs to discuss, but the main focus of the meeting should be on your needs, progress, and goals as they align with the company. If you feel you’re not getting what you need from the meeting, you should say something.
These Meetings Give You a Chance to Build a Relationship
These sessions have the wonderful side effect of greatly enhancing your relationship with your boss. You may understand what is really going on rather than just speculating why your employer could act a specific way. Additionally, you will start to comprehend the effort they are making to attempt to assemble a cohesive workforce.
These meetings give you extra background, making it easier to understand your boss’s predicament. When a manager must weigh the needs of their team and your position, it’s simple to assume that they don’t care about you if the scenario isn’t properly understood.
It Is Essential That You Attend the One-on-One Meetings With Your Boss
Hold your manager accountable for their one-on-ones. For example, make sure the meetings are scheduled in both calendars. If your manager wants to cancel, ask them not to. This is your meeting, not theirs.
It’s common for managers to genuinely forget about these meetings. The best thing you can do is be proactive. Don’t be afraid to wait outside their office or ping them on an internal chat app. This is why it’s so important to schedule one on ones on a calendar. As an employee, you can point to the fact that the time is already blocked off.
Prepare and Create an Agenda
Make sure to prepare for your one-on-one meetings with the boss. This is especially important if you have something difficult to discuss. Sometimes making a list of the things you want to talk about helps keep you focused and less emotional. You last want to jump into a conversation and then go on a long rant with very little substance.
Depending on your manager, they may send a copy of their agenda and even allow you to amend it. Overall, an agenda will help keep everyone on track, so you can discuss everything you need to touch on.
Here are some excellent instances of subjects you might find helpful to bring up in your one-on-one sessions with the boss.
Data: If you have fresh data or scientific findings, ask your manager how they can impact the company’s overall business strategy. Is there a possibility? A danger? What reaction would you have?
Competitors: How might a new competitor’s entry into the market impact our product plan over the following six months? What should I watch out for in sales data or customer reviews?
Advice: If you’re coming up with new product ideas, find out what difficulties comparable products have had in the past before launching them. Does a modern innovation exist that might be useful?
What should I do strategically over the next three months to prepare for a significant launch?
Ask for guidance on handling the situation if you’re working with a challenging coworker or have a conflict with a peer.
Career: What would you need to do (education? certifications?), and when would be a good time if you wanted to transition to a different product area or team? What can I do right now to prepare for that future change?
What Do the One-on-One Meetings With the Boss Agenda Look Like?
Simply diving in will allow you to save some of your precious time. It’s likely that within the first few minutes of one-on-one meetings with the boss, the two of you will try to determine whether there are any problems or areas that require improvement. At first, it might not appear natural, but after some practice, you’ll find that it comes much more naturally.
You should prepare to provide input during the first part of the meeting we have scheduled for you. The second half of the meeting will typically consist of your supervisor providing you with feedback and action planning.
The amount of time allotted for the meeting should be on the schedule, so the time it takes shouldn’t come as a surprise. Depending on your manager, one-on-one meetings can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
Offer Suggestions and Feedback
You, as an employee, have a perspective that your manager may not have because you are in the employee role. If you notice something, take responsibility for it and say something about it.
Do not be afraid to voice your opinion regarding this matter. During your one-on-one meetings with the manager, bring up any procedures you feel may be done better, if possible.
Should You Bring Up Any Issues?
Should you talk about other employees during one-on-one meetings with the boss? If you can do so without it coming across as vengeful, yes. After much consideration, anything you say about another employee should be respectful and mentioned. Obviously, if this person is doing something to harm you, that’s another story.
What if You’re Not Satisfied With Your One-on-One Meetings With the Boss?
At the end of every meeting, you may want to ask your manager if there’s anything else you should focus on. This is a way to make sure you haven’t missed anything big, and it’s also a great way to let your boss ensure they’ve hit all the topics. If they say no, make sure to ask about it in the next meeting.
If you’ve reached the end of the meeting, but haven’t talked about your future with the team, discuss it now. You might have dreams of being a boss yourself, or maybe you want to advance to another department. Your boss should be privy to this and in support of your progression.
One-on-one meetings with the boss can be intimidating. Still, with open communication and consistency, you and your boss should be able to forge a healthy working relationship through supportive and progressive meetings. If you ever feel the meeting isn’t progressing in a supportive manner, talk with your boss to see what needs to change.