There are countless tools and guides out there for having great 1-on-1 meetings. This First Round Review Article is a great place to start (it even has a Notion template with a Question Bank for Better 1:1s).
But I think the tools only work if we show up with the right mindset to these meetings.
This mindset isn’t: it’s my job to update my boss on what I’m up to.
This mindset is: it’s helpful to have a counterpart who helps me stay on track; helps me ensure that I’m prioritizing the right things; and who can help me troubleshoot when I’m stuck.
This framing strips away the trappings of authority that come with the manager:manage-ee relationship.
One way we can do this is by asking: what conversation would I have if I were having a 1:1 with me?
What questions would I ask myself?
What preparation would I do?
What thinking would happen before the meeting?
What sort of feedback would I give me?
Hopefully, your boss has some perspective and experience that you don’t have, and she brings that to the table.
But 70% of the value of the one-on-one is a structured space to have the conversation that you need to have to help you do your best work.
The meeting is for you, not for your boss.