Maximize Your One-on-One Supervision Meeting

If you’re lucky to get one-on-one meetings with your boss, you need to treat this time as if it was treasure. Even if your boss is not a treasure, this is time when you have his or her full attention. Now is the time to move things forward and advance your career.


To make this meeting productive, it’s important to understand that this is “your” time and you need to own it. Don’t expect your boss to organize these meetings so they are productive. Some will, but most are busy and don’t do the prep work they should. So it’s really up to you to come with an agenda. I f not, you will end up just telling you boss what you did for past two weeks. Or worse, they might do what I use to do as a boss: fill the time by giving you idealistic worldly advice (now I use this blog to give out my idealistic worldly advice).

To maximize this time, do some prep work , and come up with an agenda. Be focused during the meeting, and follow-up. Here’s the breakdown:

  • List items you want to bring to the meeting as they come up during the week. (I use Evernote)
  • Organize your agenda on one page, including:
    • Follow-up items from the last time you met
    • Brief updates on key tasks
    • Progress towards your performance goals and learning goals
    • Any approvals you need from boss to move forward
    • Any challenges you are facing
  • I created a form you can download
  • Never cancel the meeting, and always be on time (even if your boss isn’t).
  • Be engaged – No checking your phone
  • Take notes
  • Listen, but don’t let your boss talk the whole time
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Ask for feedback and take any constructive feedback well
  • Only bring up personal issues if they relate to the job
  • Keep on-topic
  • Finish on time
  • Leave with clear agreements on what you are going to do, and what your boss is going to do if applicable
  • Organize your notes and your tasks right away
  • Follow through with what you discussed
  • If you leave and don’t feel good about something that came up in the meeting, go back to your boss and avoid discussing it with coworkers

If you’re not getting time with your boss , you need to ask for it. Ideally you should have 30 minutes every two weeks.

Now take ownership of your supervision meetings and watch your career jump forward.

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