One on one meetings with your boss are your key to managing up. Are you new to one on ones? Find out why they're your most important work meeting and how to make them work for you with the quick, complimentary course: One on One Meetings With Your Boss. (Includes a free One on One Meetings Template Download, plus managing up tips).

So your one on one meeting with your boss is your most important work meeting. But only when you do it right. Here are some best practice suggestions that will turn your one on ones with your boss into a place to solve your problems and advance your career. These are the items that you need to be prepared to discuss with your boss:

Status Update for the Week Before (or Since Your Last One on One Meeting)

  • What you've done,
  • Outcomes/ Results achieved,
  • Difficulties you've faced and overcome,
  • Any important decisions your boss should be informed about,
  • Any other FYI topics you think the boss would like to be informed about,
  • Don't forget that if your boss has given you work to do but you haven't yet done it that they still want to know that you haven't forgotten about it and when you are planning to do it (in particular the action items from prior agendas).

P.S This is Your Time With Your Boss

You choose how to prioritize and what is important to share. It's also a chance to catch up with your boss on a more personal level too.

Your Plan for the Week Ahead

  • What you plan to work on in the week ahead, defined in tangible deliverables,
  • Your priorities,
  • Important events or interruptions, work or personal,
  • What you may need from the boss in the week ahead eg. when you may need the boss to do something for you or make a decision.

Items for Input From Your Boss

  • Input on any problems that need to be solved,
  • Decisions beyond your authority (that you need your boss to make),
  • Direction and priorities for the week ahead.

NB: Any Potential Issues Boiling Up

  • Bosses don't like surprises. Has your boss ever said to you "I don't like surprises?" Even if they haven't, trust me they don't. This is your chance to discuss any important issues building up,
  • Keeping your boss in the loop gives your boss a chance to pre-empt problems,
  • Put simply, if things go pear shaped, you'll get into less trouble,
  • Got personal issues that may affect your work - this is a good time to share them.

Your Growth

  • What roles you are aiming at,
  • Additional responsibilities that interest you or support your career growth,
  • Any training you need to get better at current role or prepare for future roles.

Secret Ninja Manager Trick - Asking the Hard Questions

The following is a simple technique that is going to help prevent getting into trouble. And getting bad surprises in your performance review. But it needs you to do the opposite of what most people want to do. Because most people don't like finding out what they are doing wrong:

  • It's not nice to find out that you are doing something wrong,
  • But it's always better to know if you're not meeting expectations. Even if your boss has totally unrealistic expectations, it's better to get these out into the open early on so you can do something about it. Rather than get a disappointing surprise later on down the road,
  • Check in with performance expectations. And how you do this is that you check in with performance expectations which is as simple as asking: "How am I meeting your performance expectations".


Ok so that wraps up what you need to prepare and do as your part of creating a well functioning workplace. It looks like a lot but it's like a yoga practice - you will get better at it over time. And you don't need to do everything every time. The complimentary course One on one Meetings With Your Boss will show you how to manage your boss by having kick-butt one on ones with your boss. (Includes a free One on One Meeting Template download and more tips for managing upwards).

But I'm also sure how you can see that following this one on one process is going to:

  1. Save you time,
  2. Improve your work performance by working smarter, not harder,
  3. It's going to lead to better bonuses promotions and increases and,
  4. Ultimately lead to better happiness in the workplace.


What's your experience with one on one meetings between bosses and employees? Do you have any questions, comments or tips for managing upwards? Do you have any managing up tips? Please help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

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  • How to motivate employees,
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