What are some Do’s and Don’ts when meeting with my boss?

Little bit nervous.

Do you ever get called into your boss’s office and feel a flutter of anxiety? Are you worried about an upcoming performance review? Are one-on-one meetings with your manager your worst nightmare, or do you maybe just want them to be more productive?

Whatever your reason, this article will help you improve your job performance, gain more from feedback, and get to know your manager better.

When meeting with your boss…


Have a game plan!  Make the time to prepare for the meeting and how your time with your manager will be spent. Seriously – they’re incredibly busy and will appreciate your organized approach. Even if you didn’t call for the meeting, writing up some talking points of what you’d like to discuss in the meeting is a good way to let your manager know you take your time with them seriously and will come prepared.

Be prepared to list your recent accomplishments and talk about any challenges you’d like to address. Your manager can help you focus on priorities as well as provide some ideas about breaking through obstacles. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared with solutions of your own, though. Providing potential resolutions will ensure that your manager knows you’ve put thought into the issue and you are committed to resolving it.

Get to know your manager and ask them key questions that will impact how the two of you work together. Here are some ideas to get you started: What should I know about your management style? How would you like to receive feedback from me?  What can I do to make our team more successful? One-on-one meetings generally focus on the employee, so taking an interest in your manager’s work-style will make you stand out and also may change how you go about your work as you learn of your manager’s priorities.

Make sure to follow up with your boss and request regular meetings. It is easy for either one of you to push off your one-on-one if it isn’t a regular occurrence, and then it often never happens. Get in the habit of meeting weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly – whatever works best for you and your manager – then stick to that timeline. Having one-on-one meetings will both improve your work performance and strengthen your relationship with your boss.


Shy away from feedback, because that is how we learn. While negative feedback is generally dreaded, it’s actually a good thing. Without constructive feedback, it would be very difficult to improve ourselves and how we work. If you receive negative feedback, instead of getting defensive, ask your manager questions to turn it into a learning opportunity:

  • What would great performance have looked like in that situation?
  • What is one thing that I could do differently?
  • I have noticed that about myself too. Can you suggest some ways I could change that?

Make excuses – own up to your mistakes and lay out how you’ve learned from them. This is important both for you and your manager to see and understand, and it will show your boss that you are accountable for your actions.

Sweat the small stuff. It isn’t necessary to go into every single detail of your recent projects, especially when both you and your manager are pressed for time. Instead, give your manager a high-level summary of the key pieces of work that you’re currently working on and allow them to ask any questions they might have or provide feedback. You can also take this time to discuss future expectations for projects or work tasks in general.

Forget to make your career development a part of the conversation. Even if your company doesn’t use a formal development process, you should create a plan for yourself and share it with your boss. This includes setting short and long term goals, actions to take in order to achieve those goals, and ways to improve your current job performance. Use these meetings with your manager to receive input on your goals and how to best accomplish them.

Overall, be POSITIVE. While a manager is responsible for creating an environment where motivated people will excel, you need to put in the effort to keep yourself on a positive track.   Try starting and ending the meetings with your boss with a positive idea. It may seem like a small thing, but positivism makes a world of difference – and so can you!


LaurenFor additional information and ideas about how to optimize your productivity and professional development, email me at LaurenM@pacestaffing.com or give me a call at 425.654.8788. I’m Lauren Molitor, the Partner Services Specialist at the PACE Staffing Network.  My job is to ensure our client partners and partners- to-be are armed with the best practices on hiring and managing employees to optimal levels of performance.

The PACE Staffing Network is a leading Northwest staffing company who has been helping  local employers find employees and candidates fine jobs for over 40 years.  For additional ideas and information on how you can tackle the current marketplace – contact the PACE team at 425-637-3311 or email us at candidateservices@pacestaffing.com.


Join Our Job Seeker Network!

You'll receive emails from our Candidate Services team about hot job opportunities plus job search tips & trends!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Check Out Other Blogs on Related Topics…