My manager and I have one-on-ones scheduled every other week which is great in theory. The reality is that they always get cancelled or we have an ad hoc conversation about an issue that seems to “count” as our check in. I don’t want to be a pest but I’d like to have more interaction with my manager. Any suggestions? M.A., San Diego, CA
Be careful about making stories out of two disparate behaviors—especially disempowering stories. Confirming that your regular status meetings are scheduled is not the behavior of a “pest.” The fact that you’ve had these meetings in the past suggests that it’s your manager’s preferred way of staying connected to you. It sounds like s/he’s under pressure and has deprioritized your meetings.
Regular check-ins keep you current with what is on your manager’s mind. They also help you spot opportunities, manage (mis)perceptions, provide an opportunity to test ideas, to presell programs, and ask for help and advice. They are critical to doing your job well.
Get them back on the calendar. If s/he manages his own calendar and pushes back on scheduling them be prepared with your rationale and be flexible. Answer his/her “objection” upfront. It could sound something like this, “I appreciate how time-pressed you are, until your schedule frees up maybe we could we shorten our check-ins to 30 minutes? Our calls really help me work more effectively and ensures that I’m on track with your expectations.” By showing the benefit to him/her, you’ve reassured them that your meetings are both necessary and not a waste of their time.