Questions to ask your boss during one-on-one meetings

It’s common for organisations to schedule regular appraisal meetings between managers and their team members. These meetings typically occur on a one-to-one basis, allowing for privacy and candour. You get the chance to address the issues that are concerning you and your boss has the opportunity to deliver an appraisal of your performance. Preparing questions in advance is a useful way to steer the appraisal onto matters that you wish to address, but not all questions are suitable.

How can I improve?

An appraisal is a performance review, so your boss may address the areas in which she’d like you to improve, but there’s always room to take this discussion further. If your boss talks about targets she’d like you to meet, get the specifics on how to achieve them. If your appraisal focuses entirely on what you’re doing well, it’s always good to ask if you can improve in any way. It shows humility and commitment to the business.

What are my strengths?

Whether you’re doing well or you require some improvement, it’s always great to know one’s strengths. Knowing this gives us confidence in our performance and it also gives us the power to improve overall. For example, if your one-to-one reveals that your conversion of sales is good, but you’re not meeting your targets, you know that by increasing the amount of calls you make could fix this. If it’s the other way round, you’ll know to focus more on closing those deals and less on finding new prospects.

What training is available?

Not only does training empower you to do your job better, it can also make you more appealing to future employers. You shouldn’t treat your current employer as a stepping stone in your career, but it’s important to build a valuable skills base.

How do I become eligible for a promotion?

This question will illuminate two things; firstly whether the opportunity for progression exists in your current role and secondly, the steps required to achieve it. Asking this question also shows your boss that you’re ambitious and confident.

How is the business doing overall?

You’re entitled to ask about the business as a whole and your one-to-one is the perfect forum to do so. Understanding the goals and challenges of the company for which you work can be a big advantage when applying for a promotion.

How can I play a bigger part in our future?

The answer to this may very well give you valuable insight into the sort of things you should plan for now. If the company is planning on developing new products, your boss may advise you to familiarise yourself with the relevant markets. This way, combined with your training, you may be perfectly placed to manage the new products upon launch. It’s always good to understand how your role fits into the future plans of the business.

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About the Author

Simon Foden has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He began his writing career after graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree in music from Salford University. He has contributed to and written for various magazines including "K9 Magazine" and "Pet Friendly Magazine." He has also written for