Why You Should Drive The Agenda During A One-On-One With Your Boss

Why You Should Drive The Agenda During A One-On-One With Your Boss

Use one-on-one time with your boss wisely by preparing your own talking points. Take pre-meeting time to prepare a list of things that need to be discussed, then use it.

Picture: FTTUB.

Instead of just checking in during a one-on-one meeting, start a dialogue about things that might be making your job more difficult. This initiates a mutual exchange of feedback, which is much more powerful than a one-sided lecture from your boss.

The Fast Track details how to make this part of the one-on-one more productive:

Before each meeting, spend ten minutes thinking about what would be most helpful for you to discuss. Is there a project you want her feedback on? Do you need to communicate that there’s some time-sensitivity on that draft that’s been sitting in her in-box for two weeks, and that you can’t move forward until she signs off on it? Are you struggling with getting something from a partner organisation that she might have more pull with? By thinking through what you need from her, you can come prepared to get more out of the meeting time.

It’s good to be transparent with your boss so you both can collaborate on how to succeed, and a one-on-one is the best time and place to do it. The Fast Track has some other tips for handling a one-on-one well below.

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your One-On-Ones With Your Manager [The Fast Track]


  • This absolutely relies on having a boss who’s not an asshole. With an asshole boss, the response would be along the lines of, “Those things are YOUR problem to solve, to get YOUR performance up to par, so that I don’t have another reason to fire you, because as you know, I ALREADY don’t like you and am doing my best to bully you out of the company so that you don’t collect the quarter million dollars of unvested incentive compensation you’re in line for if you just make it 3 more years.”

  • And yes, I found the 1 on 1’s so abusive (I was previously the top member of the team, and this new manager positioned me as its worst performer), that I stopped attending them, and she whinged about it up to the VP level of a 100,000 employee company. (I couldn’t go and sit with headphones on and ignore the bogus bullying framed as “feedback”. Tried that, and she started screaming at me, and reported me for it, LOL. Tried to get permission to get a witness of my own choosing, who was a full time employee, to attend these 1 on 1’s with me, so that she’d either behave herself (as she usually — with rare exception that would inspire gasps from those who saw it — would when around people who weren’t a target of hers) or I’d have witnesses to the behaviour. They refused, but of course offered another manager or HR rep, LOL. It’s funny… she claimed I was the worst performer on the team, but I then demanded, if I suck, I want a set of metrics to prove that I have “improved”, give me a performance plan like all company failures get to try to meet before they’re dismissed — and she wouldn’t do it, because she KNEW I’d either blow away the performance targets in it and she’d look like an idiot (if the performance targets looked at all like those for my coworkers) OR use it as evidence in a court case of unrealistic expectations of me compared to every coworker.

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