6 tips for one-on-one meetings with your manager
Having regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with your manager is crucial for your success at any stage in your career. These check-ins are a great way to connect with your manager, boost your productivity, and ensure you’re traveling down a path to success. Your manager is most likely extremely busy, and this may be one of the only opportunities you have to directly connect with them to give and receive feedback. Here are 6 tips to ensure you’re getting the most out of your one-on-one meetings with your manager.
1. Make it a recurring meeting
Do not wait for your manager to schedule time with you. Be proactive and set up a recurring meeting in both of your calendars to ensure you meet on a regular basis - this often once a week. If you, or your manager, has a conflict during one of the meetings, do not cancel the meeting but reschedule it so that you do not have to wait until the next meeting to connect. It is critical to reschedule because things come up and you do not want a month to go by until you speak directly with them again.
2. Use a template to guide the discussion
Prepare a template in a document that works for you and your manager and use that template for each meeting. Examples of what to include in your template include sections for:
Calendar – upcoming meetings that you have that are important to note
Responsibility #1 – your biggest responsibility for your role and the corresponding elements within that responsibility (ex. Data; Brand Management; Support; Training, etc.)
Responsibility # 2, 3, 4, etc.
Misc. – anything you may be working on that does not fall under your main responsibilities listed above.
Budget/Expenses – expenses or purchases that your manager may need to be aware of
Team/PTO – upcoming team events or time off
3. Come prepared
Your manager needs to understand that your one-on-one meetings are important to you. The worst thing you can do is come to a meeting unprepared and unorganized. Use the template above and be sure to update it well in advance of your meeting. You could also share your document with your manager prior to your meeting so that they have a copy and can take a quick look at what you are interested in discussing.
4. Take notes
This is often your one chance each week to have a direct conversation with your manager so make sure you are actively listening and taking notes – especially if you are a remote employee. Avoid the embarrassment of missing an action item and having your boss ask you for a status update on something you missed. Include an “action item” section in your template so that you know what actions you need to take for specific topics, so you can refer back to your document after the meeting.
5. Share your concerns
During this meeting, you should have your boss’s full attention. It is a perfect time to bring up any concerns you may have, especially if they are related to your team, work, goals, progression, etc. If you include your concerns in your template, it will be easier to have the discussion with your manager and you have it documented so you can reference your discussion at a future date if needed.
6. Ask for feedback
You don’t need to wait until your mid-year discussion to ask for feedback. Use this time to ask your manager for feedback on particular projects, career goals, how you can improve, etc. If they don’t have any feedback for you, prompt them with specific questions about what you’re looking for feedback on.