Seven Signs You Need to Schedule a Check-In With Your Manager
The beauty of check-ins is that you can schedule one whenever you need to. That means no more waiting for a set day each month or year to discuss pressing work-related issues. This approach allows both you and your manager to nip problems in the bud before they grow even bigger.
But check-ins aren’t just a chance to raise concerns; they are also the perfect vehicle for discussing performance, progress, goals, and personal development.
So how often should you schedule a check-in? While there’s no magic formula, check-ins are meant to be regular, ongoing conversations. It’s wise to schedule one anytime you have something important to discuss with your manager, or as an issue arises – whatever you need to support you.
Here are seven tell-tale signs that it’s time to schedule a check-in.
- Your goals aren’t clear
Without goals to aim towards, work can start to feel purposeless. Continuously aligning your work with both personal and organisational goals not only leads to better outcomes, but also gives work meaning and direction.
Do you know what your goals are? Is it clear what you are working towards? If not, it’s time to schedule a check-in. And even if your goals are clear, regular check-ins help ensure that you are on track to achieve them.
Think of check-ins as a periodic opportunity to assess performance and work against targets and goals, helping you to see the progress you have made, and the direction you need to take.
- Something is secretly driving you crazy
There are a million and one things that can drive us crazy in the workplace. It might be a colleague, the office environment, a lack of clear communication, a lack of recognition, equipment not working, too much of this or not enough of that.
Over time, these seemingly small issues can grow out of all proportions. Before you know it, they are not only affecting your experience of work, but your life outside of it.
But it would be unwise to let all of that happen without talking to someone first – and ideally at an early stage, before the issue drives you crazy. So next time something is affecting your experience of work, schedule a check-in and talk it through.
- You’ve found yourself looking elsewhere
If your experience of work slips below your expectations, eventually you’ll find yourself browsing job vacancies online. This is perfectly normal – according to a 2017 survey by Mental Health America, 70% of US employees are actively looking for a new job.
While there are countless reasons why you may be one of them, there is usually an underlying assumption behind our desire to jump ship – that nothing will change.
Check-ins give you an opportunity to discuss the reasons why you are frustrated, bored, or stressed. Once these things are out in the open, you can work with your manager to make work more enjoyable and interesting. As a result, you may find that you were in the right job all along.
- You feel that your skills and your work aren’t aligned
In many cases, the job title we are given isn’t a fair reflection of the skills we bring to work each day – particularly when we are starting out in our careers.
You may find yourself in a position that doesn’t fully utilise your skill set. Your work may be so easy that there is little challenge. In the long run, this can make you feel undervalued and unmotivated.
Conversely, you may feel out of your depth, like you aren’t fully equipped to handle the work you have been given. In the long run, this can make you feel stressed, exhausted, and low on confidence.
If you feel like your skills and your work aren’t aligned, schedule a check-in and talk to your manager about it. It could be that you need specific training to get you up to speed, or simply that another position would be more suitable. But unless you discuss these options, nothing will change.
- You feel like you are treading water
Your education shouldn’t stop when you start your career – if anything, that’s where it should really start. And in an ever-changing world, ongoing learning and development is not only a perk, it’s a necessity.
Check-ins are the perfect place to discuss your own professional and personal development – what you need to work on, where you want to be, and how to get there.
Ideally, you should never feel as though you have ‘arrived’ at work, but rather that there is always something new to learn – and check-ins are the perfect place to plan the path ahead.
- You are having personal problems that are affecting your work
Sometimes, personal issues can make our work lives even more challenging. These could be issues relating to mental or physical health, relationship problems, bereavements, or any other situation that affects your performance or happiness at work.
While your manager isn’t necessarily qualified to help you with these problems directly, letting them know about the situation will help them to understand where you are at, and offer appropriate support.
If conditions at work are exacerbating a personal issue, or even causing it, your manager and you can discuss ways to improve the situation.
- You haven’t checked-in for a while
While check-ins should be scheduled as and when they are needed, rather than on a set date, they are meant to be regular, ongoing conversations about work. Even if things are going well, it’s still important to check in with your manager – you want to stay happy right!
Discussing your performance, goals, and overall happiness with another person can provide valuable insights and different perspectives.
So, is it time you scheduled a check-in?