Cubicle Career Series: Management Touch Points

Hello Professional Friends! I am incredibly excited to be bringing you the first official post for my new series: Cubicle Careers. In todays post I want to share with you about Management Touch Points with your direct report; specifically what these are, why they are important, and helpful pointer.

Let’s jump right in and get the elephant out of the room. Meeting with management, your direct report, for a one-on-one might be incredibly intimidating. Whether you are close friends or completely new to working together, just the thought of a one-on-one meeting might make you a little nervous at first. It’s okay! I’ll attest to still getting nervous before meetings. Someone once told me it’s important to notice when you have nerves because this means you truly care about what is going to happen. Managing these nerves will also show you how you perform under pressure situations and give some insights into your own behaviours.

What is a Touch Point Meeting:

A touch point meeting is a set about of time you block out on your calendar to meet with management to discuss any issues, what projects you’re working on, any support you require, ideas you have for your team, or areas to receive feedback on. These meetings can be reoccurring daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Some managers spend 5 to 10 minutes daily catching up on what is taking place that day. Personally I have only experienced a weekly and bi-weekly touchpoint with my direct reports where we have this time reserved in our calendars.

The Importance:

One-on-Ones are important with management because this opens the dialogue and helps break down barriers between traditional corporate hierarchies. Whether your are an employee or management, this time will provide better visibility into what happens in your day-to-day job. Managers have a whole team to lead and they don’t know what is happening every minute or if you are needing help unless we tell them. Highs or lows, we all have these moments and it’s okay to share them with your managers. Managers are there to listen and chances are they have dealt with similar situations you are facing. Asking for their feedback shows you care for the work you do, aren’t afraid to ask for help, and respect others opinion/guidance. I’ve come to really like having my weekly touch point meeting and find it is always best when our conversations are valuable for both parties. In a general sense many people don’t mind giving their opinion or ideas, just ensure you always listen to what they have to say with an open mind.

Helpful Pointers:

  • Find a separate space if possible, away from your team to speak with your direct report
  • Prepare for the meeting and do not walk in expecting your employer/manager to lead. In no way am I suggesting a powerpoint presentation, unless that is your style. I simply jot down a few notes I want to speak to prior to meeting
  • Time is valuable for both yourself and your manager, ensure your meeting is beneficial to both parties
  • Always ask if management has any topics to discuss before wrapping up
  • Take notes, take away points if there are items you need to action after the meeting
  • When, not if, something is discussed either in this meeting or another do not be afraid to ask for a further explanation in fear of looking not wise. I have stayed quiet to only not understand what was actually being asked of me to complete. Being shy is normal in many instances, especially with a new team when you don’t know everyone, simply jot down what you are unsure of. After you can send an email or ask to speak with the person alone for further clarification.
  • My team is all over Canada with Skype and email keeps us connected. Be mindful of time differences. Early mornings and lunch hours tend to be off limits. You can Check if there are blackout spots during the day for meetings (ex. lunch, fist hour of the day, last hour of the day, etc.)
  • For discussions longer than a few minutes, booking a meeting time in your coworkers calendar for discussion. Out of respect for everyones time if your question is going to be longer than a few minutes book a calendar time slot to discuss. This way both or all parties have a chance to collect their thoughts and exactly what is being discussed.

Thank you for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts on if you have meetings with your direct reports?

Let me know if you enjoy the series!


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