Maximize Your 1:1s to Support Your Growth

Visibility and perception are key in the corporate world, and that starts with your relationship with your direct supervisor.  Preparing your talking points ahead of your meetings and applying some structure around them yourself can result in great returns (while also providing your boss with some guidance on how best to support you).

Most managers (myself and others I’ve come across) establish a weekly 1:1 cadence for everyone on their team.  While some managers may have a formal agenda/format, many do not.  Below is an outline of how you can organize your thoughts and drive the conversation in a way that benefits yourself, and more specifically, your career path.

Weekly:  Key status updates and issues

This is likely what your standard 1:1 is currently, but I’ll reiterate, on a weekly basis you should be bringing brief status updates on the high priority projects you’re working on.  You can make it even simpler and just mention something is on track if there are no issues.

If there are issues you’re facing, your should bring them to your manager for assistance.  Where projects might be stuck, or you need them to step in as an escalation point.  An even better approach for these is to bring a recommended solution(s) for their feedback, they’ll appreciate that.

Track these issues when they get talked about in your 1:1s, your manager’s response, and what the next action is. This can be a simple table like below, to help track what you’re raising and their respective status so nothing drops.

Project/AreaIssue Date RaisedAction OwnerNext Action Deadline

Monthly: Your career planning

There should be a clear dialogue about what you want for your career and what you and your boss are doing to get you there.  There is a high likelihood that you will need to be the one to initiate this conversation and take ownership, it is your career after all.

To ensure there’s momentum following an initial conversation regarding your career path, once a month raise the topic and mention what you’ve done this past month to advance. Perhaps there were some recommendations from your boss for you to take on previously, report on your progress on them.

Every 6 months: Your job performance

Many companies have a formal performance review process (some yearly, others twice a year).  Regardless, it’s a good idea to do a mid-year check in on how you’re doing.  Take the feedback from your last review and document ways you have worked to improve on that.

If you are proceeding with an off-cycle performance review, give your boss a couple weeks’ notice that you want to do this.  They will need time to put together some meaningful feedback, rather than providing it on the fly.


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