We’d all ultimately like to have a boss we at least have a decent relationship with, but the cold hard facts sometimes intrude: Sometimes you’re going to have a boss you simply don’t like, and vice versa. Yet this person gives you reviews, so how do you manage to put personal feelings aside and get the most out of your professional relationship when getting a weekly or monthly review?
Plan it out.
You need to attend these sorts of one-on-ones with an agenda, so you can make the most of your time together. You’ll need to do some pre-prep, and you might even use a template to send to your boss beforehand.
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
You want to share what you’ve accomplished over the last week/month, but make sure to prioritize first. Figure out which updates are the most time-sensitive so if you need input, you can get it right away (before a problem arises). Then figure out the complexity of your update. If it’s brief, you can probably get by with an e-mail. If you find yourself writing something more in-depth, you’ll get more out of meeting in person. And share good news if you have any – consider this an opportunity to toot your own horn, let your boss see your progress, and potentially have them share it with upper management you don’t get to see often.
Spend the majority of your time here, asking for help solving a problem, getting guidance on a next step, or receiving feedback on something you’re trying. Make sure to cut to the chase quickly with your questions so you make the most of your time. If it involves a problem, make sure you’ve thought about it first and offer your solution, so it doesn’t appear that you want your boss to solve it for you.
Figure out next steps together.
Before leaving, articulate out loud what you’ll do next in terms of which of you takes on what tasks. That way you have clear expectations set up to go over the next time you meet to see where you’ve gotten in the process and whether you need to go in a different direction.
Look to the future.
Your weekly sessions don’t always have to focus on the immediate future – you can and should discuss your long-term career path. If you want to use one of your sessions for this, make sure to add that to your agenda ahead of time so your boss can prepare thoughtful feedback. And it gives you time to think about what they might say, as well as your answer.
Note that all these suggestions involve keeping it on a professional level and avoiding personal conflict – something every employee should practice. For advice on how to best have these sorts of conversations with a difficult superior, ask the experts at PrideStaff.