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Part 2: Preparing for Pivotal 1:1 Meetings with Your Manager & Skip Level Manager

Welcome back! Before you dive into this conversation, make sure you've read Part 1 for context and the important questions to ask yourself before talking to your manager.

Now that you’ve done the critical self-reflection and have a clearer picture of your career path and current role, it’s time to prepare for the second pivotal conversation in your career check-in: the 1:1 meetings with your manager and skip level manager. These discussions are crucial for your professional growth and can significantly influence your career trajectory.

Why These 1:1 Meetings Matter

Having regular, meaningful conversations with your manager and skip level manager helps ensure alignment between your career goals and the organization’s objectives. These meetings are not just for performance reviews; they are opportunities for you to gain insights, seek feedback, and express your aspirations. By engaging in these discussions, you demonstrate initiative and a commitment to your growth, which can open doors to new opportunities. For detailed strategies on making the most of these meetings, download the Smart 1:1s Meetings Guide.

How to Prepare for the 1:1 with Your Manager

1. Reflect on Your Accomplishments:

Before your meeting, review the contributions and successes you identified in your self-reflection. Be ready to discuss specific examples where you added value. Highlight the outcomes of your work and any positive feedback you’ve received. This sets a positive tone and reminds your manager of your impact.

2. Identify Areas for Development:

Acknowledge the areas where you seek to improve. Show that you are proactive by outlining the steps you’ve already taken to address these areas. This demonstrates self-awareness and a growth mindset, which are qualities that managers value.

3. Set Clear Goals:

Outline your short-term and long-term career goals. Be specific about what you want to achieve and how you see yourself progressing within the company. This helps your manager understand your aspirations and think about how they can support you.

4. Prepare Questions:

Have a list of questions ready. These could be about opportunities for advancement, skills you need to develop, or projects you can get involved in to broaden your experience. Asking thoughtful questions shows your engagement and eagerness to grow.

Conducting the 1:1 with Your Manager

1. Start with Gratitude:

Begin the conversation by thanking your manager for their time and support. Acknowledging their efforts sets a positive and appreciative tone.

2. Share Your Insights:

Discuss your reflections, starting with your accomplishments. Use specific examples and focus on the outcomes. Transition smoothly into your developmental areas, framing them as opportunities for growth.

3. Discuss Your Goals:

Clearly articulate your career goals. Explain why these goals are important to you and how they align with the company’s objectives. Ask for your manager’s feedback and guidance on achieving these goals.

4. Seek Feedback:

Invite your manager to share their perspective on your performance. Be open to constructive criticism and use it as a foundation for your development plan.

5. Create an Action Plan:

Together with your manager, outline actionable steps to reach your goals. Set realistic timelines and agree on follow-up meetings to track your progress. This shows your commitment to continuous improvement. The 1:1 Meetings Guide provides additional templates and tools for creating effective action plans.

Preparing for the 1:1 with Your Skip Level Manager

Your skip level manager is typically one or two levels above your direct manager. Meeting with them can provide a broader perspective on the company’s direction and how you can contribute.

1. Understand Their Priorities:

Research your skip level manager’s focus areas and strategic goals. Understanding their priorities helps you tailor the conversation to align your contributions and aspirations with the broader organizational objectives.

2. Highlight Your Impact:

Prepare to discuss key projects or achievements that align with the company’s strategic goals. Be concise but specific, showing how your work supports the bigger picture. The 1:1 Meetings Guide includes tips on effectively presenting your impact.

3. Express Your Ambitions:

Clearly state your career aspirations and how you envision growing within the company. Show that you are thinking ahead and are committed to the company’s success.

4. Ask for Advice:

Seek their insights on career development. Ask for recommendations on skills to develop, opportunities to pursue, and any advice they have for advancing within the organization. This shows respect for their experience and willingness to learn from their leadership.

Conducting the 1:1 with Your Skip Level Manager

1. Be Professional and Respectful:

Start the meeting with a brief introduction, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to meet. Keep the conversation focused and respectful of their time.

2. Present Your Key Points:

Share your accomplishments and career goals succinctly. Emphasize how your work contributes to the company’s strategic objectives. Be prepared to discuss any high-impact projects you’re involved in.

3. Seek Broader Insights:

Ask for their perspective on industry trends, company direction, and areas where you can make a significant impact. This helps you gain a wider view of the organization’s future and how you fit into it.

4. Follow Up:

End the meeting by summarizing key takeaways and thanking them for their time and insights. Send a follow-up email to express your gratitude and reiterate your key points.

Wrapping Up

Having these pivotal conversations can be transformative for your career. They require preparation, self-awareness, and a proactive approach. By reflecting on your achievements and setting clear goals, you can engage in meaningful discussions with your manager and skip level manager that align your aspirations with the company’s objectives. Remember, your career is a journey, and these conversations are important milestones along the way.

To dive deeper into effective strategies for 1:1 meetings, download the comprehensive guide to having Smart 1:1 Meetings. This guide provides actionable templates, tips, and insights that I used to successfully manage up and navigate my own career path.

If you found this post helpful, please like, comment, and subscribe for more career development content. Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below and stay tuned for more insights and tools to help you navigate your professional path. And as always, feel free to reach out if you need further guidance or a sounding board for your career plans.



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