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How to Prepare for Successful 1:1's with your Manager

Estimated reading time ~ 2 min
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Whether you are remote or in office, one on one meetings with your manager can be challenging. Even if you see the agenda before hand you just don’t know what curveballs are coming. So here are some tips compiled below to best prepare you for a productive and smooth meeting!

Review most recent completed work the week before

This varies on how often you see your manager. If it's biweekly then go through your work for the past two weeks. Point is to go over workflow, roadblocks, and outcome of each task.

Review most recent convo’s with manager

If you utilize an app like Slack or Google Chat, review your last communications with your manager. Going over the most recent convos since the last 1:1 helps to keep track of what was most pressing and can close the loop on projects that may get overlooked by the both of you. This ensures no stone is left unturned.

Review most recent convo’s without manager

Any email, or chat that happened without your manager, should go past your manager’s eyes. Don’t assume the third party may’ve brought it to both the attention of you and your manager. There are times when others may want to run ideas by you to gauge likelihood of acceptance or approval with your manager indirectly. Keep in mind that most Managers like to know what could come down the pipeline in the future or get funnelled their way sometime soon.

Prioritize your updates

Learn what task or project should get discussed first and more in depth. Then tier the rest of your updates to that model.

Offer solution(s) to each problem

If there is a problem the company or team is facing, try to think through some options to help resolve those issues and come prepared to meetings with your suggestions. This will help your manager release some of the burden of problem solving while building yourself up as a reliable teammate. Also try this method of presenting facts before your proposed idea or solution. It will portray you as a person who is organized, concise, and a critical thinker.

Ask questions

If your manager asks you execute on a task, try and gather as much information as possible. Sometimes it may feel like asking questions makes you look inexperienced, but it actually showcases your interest in the task and clarifies all needs and expectations around the need. No one is a mind reader, so being curious will allow you to fully undertsand your managers thought process.

Don’t be afriad to say no

Your manager is not always aware of what your day-to-day looks like, and may ask things of you that are beyond your bandwith or reach. They need your help in understanding what is actually possible to accomplish. Saying yes to everything they ask of you sets you both up for failure, because you may burn yourself out and set unrealistic expetactions from your manager.

Think ahead of what is coming up

Although there is no time like the present, I definitely enjoy planning out my future! I make a list of to-do's and upcoming deliverables before the next meeting and even within that same month. Your manager typically has information on the company’s pressing needs, so when that changes they can help redirect your work.

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