How to Advance Your Career Through One-on-One Meetings with Your Manager

Does it ever feel like you aren’t getting much out of one-on-one meetings with your manager?

One of the best things I learned in Keyot’s Crew212 program was how to have a successful one-on-one meeting with my manager and why they were important for my development. For many people, these meetings can feel repetitive week after week and like you’re just a participant waiting to see what happens. With a little preparation, however, these meetings can become a direct link to your workplace success where you’re the one guiding the meeting, not just participating.

According to Forbes, employees who have effective meetings with their managers have increased levels of trust and higher levels of innovation and productivity.

Use these tips to ensure your one-on-one meeting is an important part of your week that gets you closer to your career goals, improves your relationship with your manager, and allows you to leave feeling motivated about your job.

4 steps for a successful one-on-one meeting with your manager

1. Lead the conversation

Your manager has a lot on their plate! Make your meetings easy on them by having a structured agenda. This might include a discussion of any problems you’ve encountered, an update on your career goals, and an opportunity to receive feedback. By creating an agenda, it will not only make for an efficient meeting, but will also prevent you from forgetting things that you want to discuss.

To make it even more effective, send the agenda to your manager 24 hours in advance to let them know you’ve put some thought into your meeting and that you appreciate their time.

2. Be fully present

If you have a lot going on at work, it can be a challenge just to focus on one thing at a time. If your mind is elsewhere, then you aren’t really present and your meetings can never really be successful.

Put your phone on silent, close all your other tabs, and focus in on the person in front of you. In a virtual environment, do your one-on-one meetings over video chat instead of over the phone. According to a study done by Forbes, 73% of executives at high growth companies believe that video conferencing improves the quality of communication during meetings. By making this simple switch, both you and your manager can improve your focus.

3. Support your manager

It can be easy to forget that managers have their own set of daily struggles, both in and out of the workplace. Instead of just focusing on what your manager can do for you, make your one on one a two-way street by asking what you can do for them. By being someone they can look to for support, you are proving yourself as a team player. Your manager will be grateful that you care enough to ask, and they will start to trust you more.

4. Leave with a plan

If you aren’t doing anything outside of your conversations, how can you expect things to be different in your next meeting? That’s why it’s important to leave with an action plan. Both you and your manager should leave with next steps based on what you talked about. 

If you are having a recurring problem, make a plan to solve it and let your manager know what they can do to support you. If you are behind on a career goal, make a detailed plan to reach it and ask your manager to hold you accountable.


Successful one-on-ones are an important part of your career development. Implement these ideas into your meetings and you’ll start to notice how little changes can have a big impact on your relationship with your manager, your workplace happiness, and your overall productivity.

If you’re interested in learning more tips like these, then check out how Crew212 can help you launch your career.

Have you had successful one-on-ones with your manager? Comment below and let us know what makes them great!

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