How do you get more time with your manager if they are already busy and managing a sizeable team? Most roles require you to work with minimal supervision and for the most part this works. There are times when you might be struggling with decisions, dealing with stakeholders or workload and you need more support or require an escalation. A prolonged lack of support can impact your performance, development and well being if the stress mounts.
There are no set rules as to how often you should see your line manager because it depends on a number of factors such as the hierarchy, size of the team, how empowered you are to make decisions and so on. Here are 5 ways that can give you time with your manager.
1. Schedule a regular 1:1
Ideally this should be a weekly occurrence at regular time. It’s a good idea to fix the agenda and add other business as and when it comes up. This will make your discussions more productive and improve the chances of the 1:1 taking place as planned. Having a fixed agenda helps you to come prepared and to intentionally document the areas you need support in in readiness for your discussion. Regular 1:1s are a great opportunity to receive timely feedback and to practice talking about your accomplishments.
2. Reschedule cancelled meetings
Things happen! This might result in regular or adhoc meetings being cancelled, sometimes at the very last minute. Always aim to get them rescheduled as quickly as possible. Pay attention to how often this happens because if it becomes a pattern this may be an indication of your manager neglecting you and your development. If you do not follow up on cancelled meetings it gives the impression that the meeting is not important to you and so it is unlikely that it will be prioritised. Sometimes meetings with urgent items on the agenda can be cancelled – call the urgent items out so your manager is aware that there are issues that need attention.
3. Have informal chats
Meeting times don’t have to be restricted to formal sit-downs. Discussions can take place over power walks, coffee chats, pre-meeting or in the corridor. When having informal chats steer away from sensitive and confidential discussions that might work better being discussed in a private space. Informal chats don’t always have to be about work but can be used to get to know your manager better and understand their motivation and focus.
4. Propose weekly team meetings
Team meetings are a great way to hear important information first hand. They also give you insight into how your manager is working with other people. So it might not just be yourself that is struggling with getting more time with your manager. Team meetings are a good forum to discuss workload and in most cases this it’s normally the manager asking the question of the team. Finding out how you can support your manager is a good way to free up their time and learn new skills. It also gives you an opportunity to report your progress back and in the process gives you the time with your manager that you are after.
5. Organise time away from the office
Time out of the office when you are busy never sounds like a good idea but the change of scene is a great catalyst for creativity and productivity. Taking time out of the office means you are able to devote time to evaluating, reflecting and planning without the usual office distractions. Being away from the normal routine and pressure is good for relationship building and getting out of task delivery mode. Setting aside time for team away days, lunch out of the office, meals or drinks after work and team-building exercises provides a great platform to catch up formally or socially.
What works really well for you in getting time with your manager when they are very busy? Come and share your stories in our private online community for ambitious career women in their 20s and 30s.