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This is sort of the opposite of this question, where I'm instead the "shy" employee.

My manager has recently started scheduling weekly, hour-long, one-on-one meetings with me. To facilitate the meetings, he has asked me to make an agenda each week, with the explicit expectation that my agenda items take up most of the meeting time.

So far, we've had two meetings, and the issue I've had with both is that I can't come up with enough discussion points to fill an hour. The last meeting, I had about 4 items, and we got through those in 20 minutes. This week, I've got one, which I suspect will take less than 5.

Examples of what I've included:

  • Talked about a meeting my team had with another team to teach each other about technical side of each project, and proposed that as something other teams could do.

  • Talked about my work load in an attempt to get some feedback about how I was doing.

Along with a few other, smaller items. He seemed happy with what I was bringing, but it just didn't fill the time.

I will probably at some point ask to have the meetings shortened, or have them less often, but I suspect that will be a harder sell when it's only been a couple weeks. So in the meantime, what else can or should I bring to my weekly one-on-ones?

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    Have you tried including feedback for the meetings so far and what can be improved for next meeting? That might clarify the expectations, and also help us give you better answers. Cheers :) – ValarMorghulis Feb 14 '18 at 4:45
  • @ValarMorghulis: I'm not entirely sure what that would look like. Care to expand in an answer, maybe? – Tylerelyt Feb 14 '18 at 16:47
  • I was asking if you've thought of asking your manager for feedback on the meetings themselves. I didn't see those mentioned in your examples, so I thought I'd clarify. – ValarMorghulis Feb 15 '18 at 5:57
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Now is a good time to start thinking long term. Is there a particular skill you wish you had? Do you have any idea how you might gain it (training, going to conferences, shadowing someone, starting to do it occasionally)? After you've dealt with issues of immediate concern, you can start to talk about the future. If your boss agrees that learning this skill is a good goal, then in all your future meetings you can easily spend some time doing a status update on the goal. What have you learned or done? What is coming up that you need your boss to approve or pay for? As you start to gain the skill, is it all that you thought it would be? Do you want to start doing it at work? Or change gears a little to some other skill? Are you happy that your boss is supporting you in gaining this skill?

Other future-looking topics of conversation include new duties you can take on at work, some new version of something you're expecting to be released in the next few months to a year, and what that would mean for your projects and workload, that sort of thing.

Don't feel you have to fill the hour. But don't focus entirely on the week that's just happened and the week that is about to happen. Start to develop a wider view. Work with your boss to get the future you want.

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I don't think you have to fill the entire hour. Managers are normally very busy, and usually glad to cut some meeting short if possible.

Therefore, once you have

  • given an update on your activities
  • exposed issues where manager can help/facilitate
  • requested feedback on your activities

you don't really have to fill in the time with "inane" topics just for the sake of using the entire hour.

As additional benefit, you won't risk being perceived as a person who needs to be micromanaged.

Based on my experience in most of the cases half an hour is more than enough for a weekly face to face.

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When you run out of items and still have time tell your boss you're gifting him X minutes of his day back. Managers shouldn't be doing 1:1's to fill time they should be doing them to give and receive feedback to/from an employee.

You should be using this time as a means to getting a promotion. This is the time you use for your manager to mentor you and help you gain that role you want. If you're a developer, and want to be a developer lead, you should ask your manager for mentorship on leadership topics.

I'd also propose a bi-weekly meeting of 1 hour or weekly meeting of 1/2 an hour.

This is also a great time to bring up any issues you're having with tasks. If you have a task due in 2 weeks for instance, and you are running into a block of some type this is the time to bring it up with your boss.

This is also a good time to go over any HR type stuff with your manager if you have anything.

As an employee or manager I've always loved when 1:1's are shorter than their allotted time. I definitely could always use an extra 15 minutes even if it's just to pee.

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