Nowadays, a growing number of companies require that the leaders and their direct relationships have individual meetings one by one. And while some workers – and managers – find these sit-downs to be nothing more than a dazzling waste of time, for others, they're a welcome opportunity to have some time to reflect and retrace important issues related to work.
Of course, the problem with these single-on-one applicants is that they tend to be quite short. And this makes sense. If your manager has 12 direct reports and is required to meet them all on a weekly basis, he or she can not carve out exactly 60 minutes or more per employee. As such, your weekly one-on-one could be nothing more than a 15-minute chat, or 30 minutes if you're lucky, which is why it pays to approach those conversations in a strategic way. That's how.
1. Come prepared
Perhaps the best way to take advantage of your weekly one-on-one with your manager is to come prepared with an agenda. Before that meeting, write down a list of the things you want to discuss and the questions you need answers to. Of course, your boss might be the one who ultimately dictates how that meeting is going and what elements are being examined, but the more organized you are when you enter, the more likely you are to hit the points of discussion that are most important to you.
2. Skip the talk
It is always good to build a relationship with your manager, and there is something to be said for a basic conversation along the lines of "How was your weekend?" or "Let me tell you about this great restaurant I just found." But when you only have a handful of minutes to discuss important issues with your boss, giving up that chat is a better idea. So, rather than engage in small talk, get to work. Go through the items in your prepared diary and let your boss also say his. If you realize you have a few minutes left after all the critical issues have been discussed, you and your manager can feel free to exchange advice for the grid or analyze the performance of your favorite sports team.
3. Presents any updates you have quickly
It is likely that your boss will want to use your individual time to be updated on the critical projects you are working on. But the more time you spend sharing those details, the less time you'll have to ask questions or review other important issues. That's why you pay to be as concise as possible when you test your manager. If you're tasked with reviewing your company's website, you do not need to spend seven or eight minutes to review your content strategy. Rather, a simple "Part of the redesign of the home page is complete" should suffice. If your manager has follow-up questions, he or she will be sure to ask.
4. Ask your boss for concrete feedback
Many managers use weekly one-on-one opportunities to update and share quick thoughts. But if you are smart, you will use that time as an opportunity to solicit an actual response on your performance. This could cause your boss to think about how you are and where you can improve, and if you receive a kind of constructive criticism week after week, instead of waiting for your annual review to arrive, it will be much more useful.
Whether you're impatient to face your weekly one-on-one with your boss or think it's a problem, pay to make the most of this time. Follow these suggestions and you will do just that.