For both employees and managers, 1:1 meetings should be a priority. Sure, there are a few good reasons that warrant cancelling a check-in meeting. They include the following:
- You’ve been chosen as the Democratic party’s nominee for president and you’re going to be busy for the next 10 months.
- An asteroid is hurtling toward your company headquarters and everyone has been evacuated (although you could grab a cup of coffee together at Starbucks while you wait it out).
- You are serving as the current Miss America and your required duties and appearances preclude you from having a 9-to-5 job.
- Your dog ate your agenda (which is not a valid response if your company uses a smart, cloud-based, people-experience platform that allows you to share, collaborate, and publish your meeting agenda for review prior to your meeting).
As you can see, there is no good reason for either you or your manager to cancel your 1:1 meetings. That time should be considered sacred, because it is critical to your ongoing career success.
Show up to your 1:1 meeting no matter what
Of course, you would never consider cancelling your meeting with your manager; you realize that by doing so at the last minute—even to “put out a fire”—may cause your boss to worry about your time management skills. Even worse, they might be miffed that you don’t value your face time with them enough to pause your day—no matter how hectic—for 30 minutes. They’ve respected you by showing up, and they expect you to afford them the same consideration.
Is your manager avoiding you?
But what if your manager hasn’t read this blog post and regularly reschedules, postpones, or cancels your 1:1 meetings? You need to gently but firmly let them know you value your time with them and would like them to do the same.
First, try to reschedule the meeting immediately, asking for a new time slot as soon as they beg off. Next, if cancelling your meetings has become a habit, ask your manager if there is a better day of the week/time of day for them to meet. Perhaps you could even offer to come in early or do it over lunch. If your manager sees that you’re willing to work around their schedule, they may realize how important 1:1 meetings are to you.
Put it on the 1:1 meeting agenda
This may be enough to make your 1:1 check-in a priority for your manager moving forward. But if cancellation becomes a habit, it may require a more serious conversation: Is there a reason they avoid meeting with you? It’s possible there may be performance issues they don’t want to confront or they may question your long-term commitment to the company. Guess what? This is a great agenda item for your next 1:1 meeting.
If you want your 1:1 meeting to be a priority for your manager, demonstrate that it is a priority for you as well. Don’t let them off too easily if they try to push it out. When you go the extra mile to schedule, prepare for, and show up for the meeting, your manager likely will do the same.