Do you dread one-on-one meetings with your manager? One-on-one meetings should be something we look forward to, but all too often, we avoid them. Maybe you have a performance review coming up, or you want to discuss a promotion. Whatever the case, you want to ensure that you have a productive meeting. Because if done well, effective meetings are an opportunity for coaching and feedback. They’re also a chance for you and your boss to build rapport and strengthen your professional relationship.
But what constitutes an effective meeting? Let’s start by looking at why preparation is so important.
Why prepare for meetings with your manager?
I’m sure you will agree that our time is more valuable than ever. By preparing in advance, you increase the productivity of the meeting. This approach also lets your boss know that you are organized, professional and thoughtful. Also, if the topic of the discussion involves a sensitive subject like a promotion or raise, it will give you more time to organize your thoughts.
What is an effective meeting?
Effective meetings require structure and allow you to showcase your leadership skills. They also help you build a stronger relationship with your manager. By establishing alignment around key topics, you and your manager can make faster decisions. Effective meetings also improve engagement, facilitate innovation and promote collaboration.
How to prepare for an effective meeting with your manager
One-on-ones are meant to address important topics and maintain a productive working relationship. But preparation is essential. Here are five ways to ensure you have an effective meeting with your boss.
Go beyond an agenda
While an agenda is valuable, it doesn’t do a good job of communicating your key points. Don’t just outline what items you want to discuss. Also, think about what ideas or challenges you want to bring up. Ask a lot of questions to get to the heart of your concerns.
Prepare an update on your projects
One-on-ones are an excellent time to provide your manager with a progress update. Since you are working remotely or in a hybrid situation, it’s best not to assume that they know the status of each project. Be transparent and ask for support or advice if needed.
Come with solutions
Coming to a meeting with a list of problems means you run the risk of appearing incompetent. Don’t use it as a complaining session. Running effective meetings with your manager means coming to the table with solutions to problems. Even if you don’t have all the answers, it indicates initiative and leadership potential.
Ask for feedback
Based on research, leaders who rank at the top 10% in asking for feedback were rated, on average, at the 86th percentile in overall leadership effectiveness. One of the most powerful ways for you to grow personally and professionally is to ask for feedback from your manager. It will give you more control over the conversation and likely result in valuable insights.
Share the positive
Managers get tired of having difficult conversations and putting out fires all day. Use this valuable time to share the details of your favorite project and why you enjoy it. Also, highlight what you are grateful for and, if appropriate, thank your boss for their support.
The more effort you put into the planning process, the more productive the meeting. Look at it as an opportunity to create a better relationship with your boss and improve the work environment around you. By committing to effective meetings, you will accelerate your career growth and increase overall engagement in the process.