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Discussion on: What do you talk about during your one-on-one meetings with your engineering (or other) manager?

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Sumeet Jain (he/him) • Edited on

First and foremost, you should feel at liberty to ask your manager if there's anything more you can do to be prepared.

Something you might have found already is that there tend to be better resources out there for being a manager than for being managed. As it turns out, reading resources for becoming a better manager will help you become a better direct report. :)

You'll have no trouble finding posts about how to conduct good 1-on-1 meetings from a manager's perspective. A popular one is The Update, The Vent, and The Disaster. 18F also has a nice writeup in their handbook. And The Manager's Path is a very accessible primer on engineering management. Even though these are resources meant for managers to read, I bet you'll find them very helpful.

One final note, to actually give you a specific answer:

In addition to their other roles, consider also treating your manager as a general career counselor. They might be ideally suited to this role, since they know your skills and qualities so intimately. If you want to broaden your skill set to include front-end development, they can discuss options with you. If your long term goal is to be a manager yourself, they can talk through that path with you and help you compare it to a path where you stay primarily in development.