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Questions to Ask Your Boss in a One-on-One

The one-on-one meeting that you have with your boss is one of the best ways to communicate with them openly, and it's important to go in prepared. Keith Tatley, founder of the Manager Foundation, gives us his top tips on having a successful one-on-one meeting with your boss.

The one-on-one meeting you have with your boss is where you can be direct and find out what you need to know – don’t leave it up to your boss to tell you, because they’re likely busy, distracted, or unsure of what they should communicate to you.

Most employees think the boss is responsible for navigating the one-on-one meetings with employees, but as with any meeting, both people need to be involved. If you take a passive role and rely on your boss to do everything, you’re not going to get your needs met.

If you take an active role in the meeting then you can use it to get what you want from your job.

Keith Tatley, founder of the Manager Foundation, knows everything there is to know about how to be part of a team and get the most out of employee-employer interactions. To help out employees across the globe, he has created this free online course to help you ace that one-on-one. The course includes best practice one-on-one templates, plus ‘managing your boss’ tips. 

According to Keith, these are some of the best questions to ask your boss during meetings. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) ask the entire list every time – instead, pick questions according to what you need to know and what seems to work best with your boss.

Checking in with expectations:

  • What am I doing that is working and why? Do you want more of this and how?

  • What am I doing that needs to change? Why and how?

  • What am I doing that I should stop?

Personal development and career progression:

  • What future roles do you see as suitable for my skill-set and career progression?
  • What skills should I develop to do my job better?
  • What skills should I develop to support my career progression?
  • What responsibilities can I take over as part of career development or building my network/experience?
  • Can you please give me X responsibility, because I think I can do a good job at it or it will develop my network/experience? 

Aligning priorities:

  • What is the highest priority for you?

  • What are lower priority items and what’s the possibility of these being cancelled/postponed indefinitely?

  • Is there anything I need to know about you, the team or the business?

Resources:

  • Do you need resources like extra time, assistance, tools, training?

Being helpful:

  • What can I help with?

  • What are you struggling with?

  • What are you trying to achieve?

  • How can I support you?
read more: how to evaluate your career 

Next steps:

Self-leadership is about taking control of your life in order to achieve what you want, regardless of whether you have a good boss or not, and managing your boss starts with knowing what to say in one-on-one meetings.


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