It is a win-win situation if you ask questions during your one-on-one meetings. Employees want to have meaningful conversations and ask tough questions about their development or next promotion and their managers do too.
Listen in as I share with you three questions that you can bring to your next one-on-one. Regardless of your level in your job, whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor, these apply to you.
What you’ll learn:
3 Questions to ask in your 1-1
How to get hidden feedback that will help you with long-term growth
How to know what your boss thinks of you
The three questions you can bring to your next one-on-one meeting
The first question: “How do you describe my strengths to others?”
When people give feedback, it’s very contextual. In this question, you are not asking what they think you’re good at. This isn’t so much about what they tell you; it’s about what they say about you. What they say about you is part of your reputation and your boss is the biggest advocate or deterrent that you can have in your career.
To further explain, when your boss sits down to write a performance review, the perspective of this feedback is as an official human resources record. Legal requirements may be different than how they describe your strengths to other people. This is why it is a really great question to ask.
The second question: “What is one thing you think might hold me back in my career?”
This is one of my favorite questions and here is why. There are times bosses are afraid to give feedback that is critical if it doesn’t necessarily impact how well you do in your job. You could get outstanding performance reviews but still have a different aspect of yourself that your boss notices. This is beneficial since they can be generous enough to share this about you and it will help you in the long run.
At the same time, don’t just depend on your boss. Make an effort to expand your network and get on more global projects. Having those allies within the industry can all start from a question that wasn’t part of your performance review.
The third question: “Is there anything I can do to help you?”
This question is really about managing up and being a team player. When you help your boss succeed, you and your team succeed. You also learn how to communicate and influence others by practicing with your boss.
Even if there isn’t anything to help with right now, this is going to ally well with your boss. This is because you are showing yourself interested in the development of the company and interested in helping them grow.
What do you think of these three powerful questions? Have them ready for your next one-on-one or performance review.
Mentioned in this episode:
Work with Melissa
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Welcome to your worthy career. A podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence.
I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. And I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more of you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader. We are shattering the glass ceiling here.
The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critics. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of woo so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up-level begins now.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. This is going to be short but powerful. If you try what I suggest, it is going to be so helpful in your career.
So I hear all of the time how one on ones aren’t a great use of time. Managers want them to be productive and care about their employees. And I know this might not be 100%, especially if you’re not a big fan of your manager, but let’s just give them the benefit of the doubt for the sake of this conversation. Employees want to have meaningful conversations and ask the tough things, like about their development or next promotion, but they sometimes can look for their manager to lead. And I have an episode on the perfect one on one framework that you can dive into whether you’re a manager or individual contributor to kind of give you the whole framework of what I suggest for how to run. Different types of one on ones. Because one on ones are just such a luxury. Like having that time with your manager to talk about whether it’s work or your development. It can just provide so much positive impact for your career. It can also derail your career right if that time isn’t used well.
So I think it’s important to have some micro conversations around what to do in these meetings, some little actions that you can take that are going to help you get the most out of this time. So today I’m going to share with you three questions that you can bring to your next one on one. And regardless of level, if you have a manager, these apply to you. All right, let’s dive in. The first one is how do you describe my strengths to others? Now, this question is important. You aren’t just asking what they think you’re good at. You may have had a performance review where you got feedback and they told you things that they think you’re good at. This isn’t so much about what they tell you. It’s about what they say about you. What they say about you is part of your brand. It’s part of your reputation. Your boss is the biggest advocate or deterrent that you can have in your career. So how they talk about you matters. This can also give you insight into a superpower that you don’t see, but that they see in you. Now, when people give feedback, it’s very contextual.
So when your boss sits down to write a performance review, how they’re thinking about your feedback is from the perspective of this is an official HR record. It’s something that’s going to be said to you directly right there’s, like legal requirements. And that may be different than how they describe your strengths to other people, whether it’s in a senior leadership team meeting among their peers or it’s with their boss, which would be your skip level boss, or maybe other people on your team. So this is a really great question to ask. And don’t be afraid to have a follow up conversation based on this response or the response to the next couple of questions that I’m going to share with you. But remember that when you’re asking these three questions, you’re asking for the feedback. So be open and receptive to it. And I actually have a podcast episode on giving and receiving feedback. Also, you could also dive into that if you’re really wondering by what I mean by having an open mind or maybe struggle or think that that’s something you might have a hard time doing, or you’re worried about what your boss might say to these questions, definitely go back and check out that episode.
Okay, so the first question was, how do you describe my strengths to others? Now, the second question is, what is one thing you think might hold me back in my career? I love this question, and here is why. Sometimes bosses are afraid to give feedback that is critical if it doesn’t necessarily impact how well you do the job you have right now. You could get outstanding performance reviews, but still have something that your boss sees or maybe even something your boss has heard about you that they would be generous enough to share with you that will help you in the long run. In conversation with a boss that I had many years ago, I had asked something similar to this question, and the response was that it would be helpful for me to get more visibility outside of the state that I worked in to have a more global reputation and that long term, this would pay off for me. I took that feedback and asked myself how that could be true. Because to be honest at first thought I did not say this, but I thought, but I’m so known, I’m so outgoing. I have the biggest network of anyone that I talk to, right?
But when I asked myself, how could that be true, I realized I was a big fish in a small pond. So it could be true that I had a bigger network than anyone that I talked to regularly. But the people I talked to regularly were all within my space. They all were people that I worked with regularly, that worked at the site that I was at or in the state that I was in. And I didn’t have a lot of relationships outside of that. I had some, but not a lot. So I kind of had it in my mind that this wasn’t a problem until I really asked myself how it could be true. So I made an effort to expand my network, to get on more global projects, to have coffee, chats with people in similar roles in other countries. And I did that just by finding them on an.org chart, and it paid off. It is what led me to being able to create a role leading talent in development and biologics for a large pharma company. That happened as a result of a few different things I did. But one of those key things was having those allies and those sponsors for me to be in that role, which came from me building my network.
And that all came from that question that I asked my boss that wasn’t part of my performance review and wasn’t documented anywhere. Okay? So don’t be afraid to ask this question. And before resisting the response that you get, just ask yourself how it could be true. Now, the third question is, is there anything I can do to help you? This question is really about managing up and being a team player. When you help your boss succeed, you succeed. Your team is better for it. And you learn how to communicate and influence others by practicing with your boss. Imagine this conversation where you just had your boss summarize your strengths as they share it with others, and then one thing that might hold you back likely tied to your greater career growth. And then you ask them how you can help. Even if there isn’t anything right now, this is going to land really well with your boss. You’re showing yourself aware that you’re interested in development and interested in helping them and your team succeed. And who knows? Maybe something came out of the last two questions that makes your boss think of something you can help them with that would be great for your development and exposure.
So it’s really a win win to ask this question if you’re thinking, yeah, but my boss might just give me a bunch of work I don’t want. I just want you to remember this, that you are in control of your response to this question. If your boss says, oh, yes, could you do these 100 administrative tasks for me? That would be great. You can always reply that you’re happy to help, but you don’t have that amount of bandwidth, and so you can’t do that right now, but you’re happy to take a couple of things off your plate or whatever it is that you want to respond. That’s going to be true for you. You get to say yes or no or negotiate. You’re not stuck just because you’re asked to do something. You’re in control of how you respond. So there you have it. Three powerful questions to ask in your next one on one. Give them a try and let me know how they go for you. And tag me on social media. Leave a review of the podcast with how you applied, what we talked about here, or send me a message. I love seeing how you’re implementing what you’re learning.
Plus, I get to celebrate with you. All right, have an amazing week. Thank you for listening to this episode of Your Worthy Career. Visit yourworthycareer.com for full show notes and additional resources to help you on your career journey.
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See you next week.