For the first time in 1.5 years, I had a legitimate one-on-one with my new supervisor. I actually got to sit down with a competent person and discuss my career goals, what has been going well, and what I wouldn’t mind changing. I even got some feedback on a project I was working on! Wowee! This was like Christmas all over again (slightly dramatic, I know)!
I know this sounds ridiculous as it’s something that should be happening on a fairly regular basis, but for me it wasn’t (and I’m sure it’s the same case for many of you). My position is so versatile, seemingly random at times based on my different projects (and honestly, it still is based on the conversation I had today), and I was going through supervisor’s like water that it was nearly impossible for anyone to sit down and have a meaningful conversation about me and my career. This has now totally changed and boy, does it feel good!
This is the first time in a while that I felt understood and appreciated. I’m aware that everyone thinks I’m really competent and I produce good work, but if felt good to hear someone say it (supervisors and bosses, tell your employees you appreciate them more!). Plus, being asked what my five year plan was and putting it all out on the table (which is to end up in federal child welfare or a national child welfare program) helped make it all become more real and assist me in understanding how my projects will benefit me in reaching my goals. That’s quite a bit of learning and acknowledgment in one hour.
So, if you’re not already having regular meetings with your supervisor for one reason or another, here are three reasons you should push to have more meaningful conversations!
- Regular meetings help keep you on track. Taking part in supervision will help guide you and your projects. It gives you a chance to discuss what you’re currently doing, ask for feedback, and see where you should move from there. While this can also be done through a quick e-mail or on-the-fly questions at their desk, having legitimate time put aside to discuss things creates a more organized approach that will only benefit you.
- Helps build a better relationship with your supervisor. I’m lucky enough that I’ve gotten to know my supervisor over the past few months before she was actually my supervisor. However, it was clear that she didn’t know much about my goals or multiple projects and only knew about what she’d heard through the grapevine. This was a great chance to dig a little deeper in order to better understand how I could benefit from her supervision and how my skills might assist the office. Am I still in a really weird spot that doesn’t coincide with anyone? Yes, but now at least someone is starting to better understand that weird spot I’m in and how my skills mesh with the rest of the office.
- You’ll become accountable to someone other than yourself. Now, this is tricky because technically you’re always accountable to others even if it’s only on paper. But, having the opportunity to have conversations with your supervisor brings it to a new level. This is because they will now have a better understanding of what you’re up to and what direction everything should be headed. You’ll have an extra layer of responsibility knowing that your supervisor is keeping an eye on your work (hopefully not in a Big Brother kind of way). In turn, this will help ensure that you produce quality projects that make both of you look good.
Not sure how to get these meetings?
- Tell your supervisor politely you think you’d benefit from regular meetings. You could do this in person, e-mail, or even a nice written note if you’re so inclined. Just get the idea out there that you’re looking for some consistent guidance.
- Schedule it! We have a recurring meeting on our Outlook calendars every other week! Will they get switched around sometimes? Most likely. But, if it’s already a standing appointment it’s much easier to keep!
Now, it’s your turn! How do you benefit from meeting with your supervisor?