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Ever walked into a meeting with your boss unprepared? You expected your boss to have things to talk about, they expected you to bring the agenda items. Maybe you scrambled to fill the meeting time, reciting your to-do list; hoping it would make you sound busy and productive. Then you left the meeting feeling dumbfounded (or just dumb).

One-on-one’s with leaders are both a necessity and a privilege. While your boss’s personality and leadership skills will dictate how your one-one-one will go, there are a few things you can do to ensure the meeting is productive (bonus: you’ll also score positive points with your boss):

1. Come to the meeting prepared. “When my staff come to a meeting with their own agenda items, it's a game-changer,” says Darryl Lovett, CEO of The Lovett Co. Leadership Programs. “I’ll always have a few things I need to discuss, but their talking points show me what’s important in their work life, and also demonstrate to me that there are things they are passionate about in the organization. That’s incredibly valuable.”

2. Go to them. “When I first started my career a decade ago, I would schedule one-on-one’s with my supervisor and put the location in my office- which was in a different building,” remembers April Lovett, COO and Success Coach for The Lovett Co. You boss most likely has meetings on top of meetings and making them come to you just adds burden to their schedule. “You’ll score points if you meet your boss in their office and make life easier,” says April.

3. Bring solutions. If there are issues within your area of the organization you need to discuss with your boss, make sure you bring the issue AND potential solutions. “Yes to this!” says Darryl. “It’s difficult when someone meets with me about an issue and wants me to have all the answers. I may have to give approval on the final resolution, but I want you to bring me options that make sense for you and the organization.”

4. Don’t waste their time. “If I have a recurring one-on-one with my boss and do not have anything to talk about that week, I’ll let my boss know the day before. That way, if they also don’t have anything to discuss, we can both get that time back on our calendars,” says April. “Who isn’t happy with getting time back in their day?!”

What do you do to own your one-on-one's? Let us know in the comments below!

Want more on Leading Up? Tune in to this week's episode of Success in Black and White- The Podcast.

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