by Michael Holland
When I was a young manager working in Washington DC, my boss at the time began a certain tradition. Each week, she walked with me from our office, to and around the White House, and back again. This 20-minute walk was spent talking about the hows and whats of managing my former peers and, more importantly, laying the ground work for the WHY behind leadership.
At the time, the walks were just a nice way to get out of the office and talk about work. In hindsight, however, I see how truly valuable those consistent, short conversations were in building foundational leadership perspective.
Sadly, far too many leaders are not meeting with their bosses on a regular basis. But in order to grow as a leader, you need to make sure your boss is meeting with you a minimum of at least once every 2 weeks.
Here are the top 3 excuses why leaders don’t meet with their bosses on a regular basis.
We’re Too Busy
Right. But 9 minutes is all you need. If you can get 15 to 18 minutes, fantastic. If time is so precious that you can’t spare that much, focus on finding 9 minutes for the catch-up. Make your agenda consistent during those 9 minutes and focus on two items: one leadership stumble/challenge you’ve had in the last week, and one positive leadership success/behavior you’ve exhibited.
My Boss Should Make This Happen
Granted, your boss should be modeling great leadership and making sure the ongoing feedback sessions are happening. But ultimately, you’re the one who needs the face time with your boss, and you’re the one who needs the opportunity to gain insight and situational perspective regarding your leadership decisions and behaviors. So it’s up to you to make sure you are getting it.
My Boss is an Idiot
Perhaps… but so what? Feedback is feedback. What a great opportunity for you to practice your patience and communication skills! If you make an effort to receive regular feedback, at the very least you’ll see behaviors that you will make sure not to repeat with your employees. And if you look really hard, you might even find a seed of wisdom.
Maybe you’re relieved that you don’t have to spend time with the boss. Maybe you’re just as relieved that you’re not meeting with your employees on a regular basis. Maybe you shouldn’t be in management!
Great leaders lead well by being different: be a “do as I do” leader, not a “do as I say” leader. Learn how to have “me time” meetings with your boss so that you will have them with your employees.
Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers
- Which excuse resonates most with you?
- Do you agree or disagree with the need to meet with your boss (and employees) at least once every 2 weeks?
- Could you be effective with a 9 minute meeting with your boss?