Taking the time to meet with your manager is an important part of career development. It’s a great way to get feedback on how you’re doing and grow as a professional. The problem is that most managers don’t know what they should be talking about in these meetings, so they end up at a loss for words or just repeat the same things repeatedly: “You’re doing great!”
But those platitudes do little good if you want real help! In this post we’ll show you some strategies for getting more out of one-on-ones with your manager by asking them smarter questions about what matters most to your career growth. We’ll also show you how to prepare for these meetings so that both parties walk away feeling satisfied with their time together.
Do Some Research
As you prepare for your one-on-one, it’s important to know what you want from the meeting.
- Do some research on your own first. Take some time to think about what topics would be most helpful for the two of you to talk about.
- Are there any issues that have been coming up in meetings or with customers?
- Is there anything that could use improvement in your work?
- What do you think would make a difference in terms of improving productivity and job satisfaction at this point in time?
- Get feedback from others as well–both inside and outside the company (i.e., friends/family).
- Ask them what they think are some key areas where improvement might be needed based on their observations of how things are going overall within the organization right now.
Come Prepared with Questions, Feedback and Ideas
The best way to get the most out of these meetings is by coming prepared with questions, feedback and ideas.
Here are some examples:
- Ask for feedback on your work – What could I be doing better? What do you like about my performance? How can I improve in this area?
- Ask for advice on how to improve your work – How would you suggest tackling this project or task differently next time? How would another team member approach this problem differently than me (if applicable)? If there’s something I’m struggling with at work, where should I go for help or resources around it (e.g., career development resources like mentorship programs)?
- Request help with specific tasks/projects – What do you think about this idea for a new product feature; what opportunities does it present/challenges does it pose?
Run Through Your Questions Before The Meeting
Prepare a list of questions. You’re likely to have more than one, so make sure you write them down before the meeting. It’s also helpful to jot down the answers to your questions as soon as they are given so that you can think through their significance later on.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for What You Want
- Your manager should start the meeting. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want from your one-on-ones. If your manager says they’re too busy and can’t meet with you, ask them when would be a good time for both of you that week.
- Make sure to set goals in advance so that both of you know what success looks like at the end of each meeting. This will help keep things focused and productive (and avoid those awkward “what do we talk about now?” moments).
Ask For Advice and Feedback on Your Work
One of the best ways to get the most out of your manager is by asking them for advice and feedback on your work. Your manager knows what’s going on in the company, and they are probably very busy with their own projects. Asking them for help will show them that you trust them, which can lead to a stronger relationship between the two of you.
Be Honest About Areas You Want to Improve in
When asking your manager for feedback, don’t be shy! Your manager is there to help you succeed, so don’t hold back. You should feel comfortable asking them questions like:
- What do I need to work on?
- What am I doing well?
- How can I improve my performance?
Your manager will appreciate your active interest in improving yourself and helping them grow their team.
Be Prepared to Take Action From The Discussion
After the meeting, take notes. Write down any action items that you need to do and create a to-do list before you leave the meeting. Leave with a clear understanding of what you need to do next.
We hope this article has given you insight into how to get the most out of your meetings with your manager. The key is preparation, so come prepared with questions, feedback, and ideas. Also, remember that your manager should start the meeting and shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what they want from you!