How to get more out of your next one-on-one with your manager…

One-on-ones are a critical component of the scafolding that helps people be their best at work. As written in a previous post‘Research into the practices of the best team leaders reveals that they conduct regular check-ins with each team member about near-term work. These brief conversations allow leaders to set expectations for the upcoming week, review priorities, comment on recent work, and provide course correction, coaching, or important new information. The conversations provide clarity regarding what is expected of each team member and why, what great work looks like, and how each can do his or her best work in the upcoming days—in other words, exactly the trinity of purpose, expectations, and strengths that characterizes our best teams.‘ (Source: Harvard Business Review, April 2015 Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall from Deloittes)

We’ve previously shared 4 themes that can be explored in one-on-ones. These are a useful frame for both the leader and the team member to help ensure a good balance of the past, the future, and learning. In a recent blog that caught our eye, we see another take – from the perspective of the team member – helping individuals to take a more active role in extracting value from their one-on-one.

This post identified 28 questions you can ask your boss – themed around:

  • asking for guidance and support
  • clarifying priorities and expectations
  • aligning / connecting your role and tasks to the organisation and its strategy
  • seeking opportunities for growth and advancement
  • seeking feedback on your performance
  • building stronger relationships, and
  • offering your manager support

Here is a snapshot of 10 questions (shared in a summary link to the core post)…

Ask for guidance on tasks and projects:

  • I’m having some challenges with X. Can you help me think about how to navigate it successfully?
  • What do you think of my idea Z? Do you have any suggestions for how to improve it, or an alternative idea I should consider?

 Clarify priorities and expectations:

  • Given what’s on my plate, what should I be prioritising right now, and can you help me understand why?
  • As you review my workload, am I taking on the right projects?

 Align with the organisation and its strategy:

  • To help me better understand the big picture, how does the work I’m doing fit into the company’s broader goals?
  • What’s new in our company’s strategic priorities that you feel I should know about?

 Seek growth opportunities and career advancement:

  • What can I do to prepare myself for greater opportunities or to pursue X interest of mine?
  • What should I be targeting as my next career move and why?

 Get feedback on your performance:

  • Am I meeting your expectations? I really value your perspective on my performance.
  • What should I start, stop, or continue doing?

If you’d like to get more ideas, check out this great post by Steven G. Rogelberg et al