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We’ve all done it.

We’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that one-on-one meetings with our boss are a bit stale and feel less than useful.  This is especially the case when everything is going well and the meetings start to feel a bit redundant.   After all, if it’s all going well and your projects are on track, then why do you even need to meet?

Well – for me, it’s exactly those times when one on one meetings can be valuable – because they aren’t just about checking in on actions, they are about discussing the higher-level things; feedback, career goals, professional development and building strong relationships.

My advice for having a meaningful meeting with your boss boils down to three key things:

  • Get Control – your manager can probably guide you through a 1:1, but if that happens it’ll be their agenda that ‘owns’ the time.  My most effective manager meetings have been when I have defined what I need to get, and ideally sent to my boss in advance.    A few bullet points, 24 hours (or at the beginning) before a 1:1 will let your manager know where you want to focus, give them time to prepare and show that you are owning the process.  It’s a great technique to maximise the impact of your time. I tend to think of three or four things – one update I want to give (the good news), one problem I want to solve and one or two bits of feedback I want to give or get.
  • Get Awkward – ticking off a list of things you’ve done is not really wringing the life out of your time together. I like the concept of bringing some ‘awkward’ into your 1:1, “because if it’s not a bit awkward, you’re not talking about the real stuff“.  Giving and getting feedback is a great use of time. Do you have the ‘best relationship’ possible, if not – why not?  Ask for feedback on how to be better.  Hard questions that require thought and discussion to get honest answers about feel like a great use of time. I like asking hard questions, until I get easy answers, bringing that approach into your 1:1 can yield amazing value.

In summary, it’s your 1:1. Owning it is important, and figuring out how you can maximise the efficacy of that time together is an important step. Try changing your approach a little bit, your manager will welcome it and you’ll find it makes the sessions much more effective.

Something from the Web

Fortune magazine have published their Businessperson of the Year list – and look at number 6!  Talking of Brad, here is a great video (30 mins – grab a coffee) where he discusses Bill Campbell, the coach that once led Intuit.  Eric Schmidt is writing a book about him.

I think we all need a bit of inspiration and motivation this week – so here’s the incredible Maya Angelou reading her most famous poem. (Youtube/2 mins) or if you need relaxation, here are two videos for relieving stress. One for cats. One for Dogs. And here’s the video on how they were made, by David Tennant.

Last week I talked about building Critical Thinking skills – here’s a great article about doing just that.