Six ways to supercharge your next one-on-one with your boss
Six ways to supercharge your next one-on-one with your boss
One-on-one meetings with your boss provide a chance to set the course for your professional future. They are an important time to get the direction and support you need to succeed. Here are six ways you can supercharge your time with your leader.
1. Ask for Help or Resources Using “I Need” Statements
People are biologically wired to help each other. People are also busy. What does this have to do with your leader?
Assume your leader wants to help you succeed. Also assume they are busy and don't remember everything you are doing. Add in that your responsibilities, along with your needs, change from week to week.
Considering all this, it’s highly unlikely that your leader knows your needs at any given moment.
Using “I need” statements in your one-on-one meetings with your leader is an effective way to get meaningful help. Here are some examples of “I need” statements:

  • I need ten minutes at our next meeting to discuss the resources for the job.
  • I need to work with a subject matter expert to understand the topic better.
  • I need to learn the new software to do the job.
Make your “I need” statements short and clear. This makes them easy to understand. Your leader will know how to help you move forward. Even better, they will know you care about your work. And this deepens your partnership.
2. Ask for a Decision by Presenting Three Options
The military conducted research to discover the best way someone serving in the rank and file could present an idea and get it moved up the chain of command. The first finding was to present the idea clearly and in no more than 60 seconds.
The second finding was that supervisors were more receptive when they were presented with three options instead of one. Here’s the logic behind it: If you present just one option, someone can reject it. Instead, take advantage of our biology. The brain is wired to look for options and likes to have three choices.
When you present a supervisor with three options and back your preferred one with compelling logic, there is a 90 percent chance it will be accepted.
There's another benefit to this strategy. Presenting three options shows that you've thought carefully about the issue. You’ve weighed the pros and cons of each option. Your leader will value and appreciate that kind of thoughtfulness.
3. Ask for Clarity and Prioritization on Goals
Here’s a distressing fact from our classroom work with managers and their direct reports: If you and your leader write down your top five goals, there is only a 20 percent chance that they will be aligned.
This dismal statistic is a recipe for misunderstandings. And when you include the fact that goals often change based on new projects, you are almost guaranteed to be misaligned.
You’re not alone in your struggles. Some 41 percent of workers feel their goals are unclear.
Combat this by regularly reviewing your goals with your leader to make sure they’re aligned. You’ll supercharge your efforts.
4. Ask for Authority on Your Tasks
Having authority depends on being able to do a task well. In other words, you must prove that you are competent before you get the power. So, before you ask for authority, ask yourself how capable you are at the task.
If you're a beginner at a task or new to a role, you typically won't be given much authority. You must first earn the trust of your leader. If you're an expert at something, you've earned the right to have more authority.
We say at Blanchard® that authority is 20 percent given and 80 percent taken. If you're sure you can do something well, you might want to give yourself the authority to complete a task.
5. Ask for Feedback on How You Are Doing
Getting feedback from your leader is a great way to gain insight into how you are doing. Unfortunately,
only 28 percent of employees believe they receive meaningful feedback once a week. The remaining 72 percent say they rarely receive it.
Supercharging your one-on-one meetings includes asking for feedback. Regularly ask your manager how you are doing and how you can improve. This shows you are interested in your professional growth and that you value your leader’s opinion.
Also know that many leaders struggle to give feedback. Even though they may have received training, it is an uncomfortable subject.
But asking for feedback makes you a powerful self-leader. It will help you grow. It will also strengthen your relationship with your leader.
6. Ask for Growth Opportunities
Take the initiative if you want to have a conversation with your leader about growth. Give yourself permission to talk about the topic.
Some leaders don’t bring it up because they might fear losing you. If that's the case with your manager, find a mentor — someone in your workplace who is more senior than you and is interested in your growth.
There you have it: Six ways to supercharge your next one-on-one meeting with your leader. Use them and you'll find the office to be a friendlier place. You also have a better relationship with your leader. And most of all, you’ll achieve your goals.