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How to Have More Effective 1:1s With Your Boss

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Why it's so important for your career growth.

Are you having 1:1s with your leader? Do you feel they are helping you to progress in your career or are they a useless meeting that gets crossed off your manager’s to do list weekly?

Here are 4 tips to help you have a more effective 1:1

1. Define what a 1:1 is with your leader.

What is the goal of each meeting, what makes a 1:1 “successful” to both of you? I use quotes because the definition is different to everyone.

Is the goal to be in communication with your leader and team and up to date on company changes?

Is the goal to feel part of the team and have the ability to provide and receive feedback?

Is the goal to help you improve in your position to be able to promote into another role?

How long are these meetings going to be? How do you know when you need more time or less time? This is what you’ll check in with your leader on. Making sure you both have adequate time to meet and discuss topics and goals, but also to respect each others time to ensure you are able to complete your work.

2. Be consistent in meeting for your 1:1.

Is your 1:1 getting canceled or rescheduled often? You want to feel important and as a priority for your meetings, so if they are getting pushed back or canceled entirely, you will want to communicate with your leader that you would like to keep meeting and suggest other times that may be more helpful. If you are preparing in advance, this will also let your leader know that you are looking forward to your meeting and have topics you want to get advice on or talk about.

3. Create an intentional agenda.

If you are meeting for the sake of meeting- you’re wasting your time. If you expect your leader to host the entire meeting, you are also doing yourself a disservice. Sure, in the beginning, your leader will primarily be the one who is adding to the agenda but as you get more comfortable in your role, that’s your time to spend with your leader and have their undivided attention to get their advice and input to help you with whatever goals or ambitions you have. Throughout the week, anytime you have a question or run into something you want to know more about- add it to your agenda. Have big goals that are bigger than week to week, have quarterly goals and yearly goals that you can check in on and make small progress weekly. The sky is the limit and your leader can help guide you in the right direction to help you achieve those goals as well as redirecting you as needed when you get off course.

4. Have actionable goals.

When you have defined what a successful 1:1 looks like, you have consistency in your meetings, you have agenda items that are thought of in advance and are intentional to help you work towards your goals, the last step is setting action steps to help you achieve those goals. Again, decide what works for you and communicate that with your leader as far as how you like to goal set and what those check ins would look like week to week(or whatever your 1:1 meeting schedule looks like).

These steps aren’t new to everyone, but sometimes they can be forgotten about. We often go with the flow and can have a hard time asserting ourselves by saying, “Hey, you missed our 1:1 this week and I’d like to have it rescheduled so we can discuss my progress.” but you need to have a voice and have communication with your leader so they can help you however they can.

If you don’t have 1:1s yet and start implementing them with your leader or change things up because of reading this article, I’d love to hear from you.

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