Hi, I've been lurking for a while, enjoying the array of experience and knowledge represented on this board. I'm a Senior Software Engineer, but I'm interested in moving into a small-team lead position. So I've been learning about and practicing management techniques wherever I can, in all areas of my life.
A few times here, people have mentioned scheduling one-on-ones with their boss. Now, my boss does not do one-on-ones, and I've never done one-on-ones, but I want to try them. My concern is that I don't want them to turn into status meetings.
We already have status meetings, and in them my manager likes lots of detail. That's fine, of course. But I find that we can spend hours talking about these details, many of which are speculative, and we end up wasting time. Furthermore, I think he feels comfortable about my status with less detail. So I've been letting him ask the questions, and I've been giving him concise answers. This seems to be working.
But this is not a one-on-one. This format does not allow me to talk freely. I feel more like I'm being grilled than like I'm sharing. And while this format is somewhat efficient for status, the dynamic seems all wrong for a one-on-one. (Am I right?)
The reason I'm writing this--and perhaps this is a little premature--is because I'm still trying to understand what I should expect and what limits I should place on the meeting. I do not want my 10 minutes to turn into a status meeting, for example, but my manager may still want to ask questions, and that should be okay. So what kinds of questions are within scope of that first 10 minutes, and which should be off-limits? I assume it's okay for me to assert control over my 10 minutes, but how do I know when the meeting is getting off-track?
I think I have some idea of the answers to these questions, but I'd still like to hear your thoughts.