Have a Really Rewarding One-on-One Meeting With Your Boss

While one-on-one meetings with your boss may seem helpful in theory, they are often not truly effective. As the Talent Development Association recently reported in a survey, while 94% of managers say they schedule regular one-on-one meetings with their employees, less than half of their employees report that they actually have regular one-on-one meetings. And of employees who regularly meet one-on-one with their boss, only 20% find these meetings effective.

As career coach Amy Dreider wrote in a recent blog post , this one-on-one effectiveness blind spot is due to a number of factors. Managers make appointments only to cancel them; managers talk most of the time, not listen; and employees struggle with what they should or should not say during these meetings. All of this leads to less than 10% of employees reporting satisfaction with one-on-one meetings with their boss.

Apart from a new boss, what can be done to change this situation?

What ideal one-on-one meetings should look like

As Dreider points out, for one-on-one meetings to be effective, they must be scheduled regularly and follow a consistent format. This includes keeping your boss updated on your latest progress and keeping him updated on your progress towards specific goals. One-on-one meetings should also be a time to discuss any specific issues, problems, or obstacles related to your work. Ideally, this should also be a time when your boss can advise you on a career path that includes professional development opportunities and future goals.

Alternatives to ineffective one-on-one meetings

In an ideal world, your boss would schedule these regular one-on-one meetings to discuss all these updates. In a less than ideal world, bosses are often busy, overwhelmed, and undertrained as managers. When this happens, employees may need to find other ways to tell their boss about their progress and ask for help. This can take the form of weekly progress update emails, short regular chats instead of longer meetings, or taking more initiative in scheduling and preparing for these face-to-face meetings.


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