- Professional Skills -
one/ones with your manager
by fergus mellon
A competent manager should schedule at least a 30-minute one to one with you on a weekly basis. The goal of a one-to-one is for both you and your manager to check-in on the projects you are working on and also ensure you are getting the help of your manager on these projects as well as check that "things" (career development, "behaviors" on the right track, relationships within the team are strong) are going well. While your manager will have scheduled the meeting with you, do not fall into the trap of not preparing and of not having your own agenda for the meeting.
A one-to-one should be about 2/3 of the time on your agenda. You should prepare for the meeting and have a list of the projects you are working on, status, and ETA on completion time as well as to be prepared to share ideas on how to move the team forward.
As a manager, I am frequently surprised by the lack of employee preparation for one-to-ones despite having said that they are for the employee to present their plan to me, as much as it is for me to keep them on track. The best employees are the ones who have clear status updates and have spent the 15-30 minutes thinking about what they want to discuss.
My recommendation is that you think of one-to-ones as a regular way of highlighting your achievements and then gaining buy-in for the projects that you want to work on. I do this as a Head of Department within my own company and spend about 60 minutes between one-to-ones on preparing for my next meeting with my manager and promise you it is time worth spending
Next section: Making Meetings on Time
Related columns on managing up: "Manager as Partner", "Mastering Your Manager", "Questions for Your Manager", "Secret Skills of Managing Up", "Your New Manager"
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