Job Hack: Manage Your Boss with an Agenda

About this lesson

Be successful by learning how to manage your boss with a PowerPoint agenda. Remove stress and get more done through better communications and relationships with your manager.

Build the meeting template to control how you interact with your supervisor and improve your interaction and professional performance.


  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:09 The Challenges of Managing Your Boss
  • 03:11 How To Manage Upwards
  • 03:58 Reporting on Past, Present, and Future
  • 04:09 Building the Boss Agenda
  • 04:50 Set up a Printed Page Format
  • 06:40 Design for Paper Printouts
  • 07:45 Slide Master Introduction
  • 09:05 Adding the Content Topics
  • 09:38 SECTION: The Completed Tasks
  • 10:00 SECTION: The Ongoing Tasks/Projects
  • 11:45 SECTION: Immediate Future Actions
  • 13:08 SECTION: Successes
  • 13:35 SECTION: Issues
  • 14:11 SECTION: Open New Assignments
  • 15:18 How to Use the Boss Agenda
  • 17:04 Use the Boss Agenda for Annual Performance Review or Ask for a Raise
  • 17:30 Wrap-Up


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All versions


Course Completed




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MUSIC., Success and sanity

in your professional life are dependent upon controlling the uncontrollable. Let me show you a powerful technique on building a solution that you can use in your work life while you will not be able to control your boss. You can influence their interactions through the negotiation of tasks and goals by way of clear communications, bringing order to your always too long task list and then reaching agreements on your immediate goals. My personal success has been in the weekly boss meetings where I use the boss agenda as a technique to negotiate a set of agreed upon actions. This is what I call managing my boss without them knowing it. Hopefully they’re not watching this YouTube tutorial. We are going to build this agenda in this tutorial and learn how to leverage it for success. Hi, this is Les McCarter from Power Up Training, where I share my decades of experience with you for free for this project and for successful management, or supervisor, we need to solve these challenges.

First off, I need to break the news that you are not the center of your boss’s universe. Actually, you may be, but your boss just might not know it you’ll be competing for their attention. And typically it’s limited in face time. So our agenda will be to maximize our time with our boss. Secondly, a central key is to bring continuity with our joint boss interaction. Once you get into the rhythm of using this agenda tool at each meeting, your boss will know what to expect and your time together, we maximize with the continuity from meeting to meeting. Thirdly, you need concrete directions. Bosses often will change their minds and give you fuzzy instructions. Use your agenda to remind them of your last meetings, agreed upon tasks and goals. And then build upon that always be negotiating and documenting your agreement. Yes, bosses can and will change their minds.

And so you can just document the change and not get caught up in the whiplash. In an attempt to train your boss to be a bit more consistent, which brings up accountability, accountability for your boss to remember their last set of commands and more importantly, accountability for you to show that you’re following up on the previous set of agreed upon directions. If you failed to deliver on a previous promise, don’t hide from it, but step up and acknowledge the missed goal that will a long way to building a trusted relationship. And then a few moments. We’ll see how to deal with these failures and obstacles in our meeting agenda. Our solution to taking on these lists of challenges is to create a repeatable agenda format to structure our meetings around and ironically for the digital age, the use of printed pages to drive our meetings. Why paper I find in a one-on-one meeting, I don’t want to wrestle or be distracted by the electronics is easier for everyone involved to look at a one page paper agenda and for you to take handwritten notes for future follow-up. For Zoom or Team meetings, you can send a PDF version in advance, but I still keep writing on my paper version.

Even when video conferencing as is easier to do at a high level, our agenda will cover past, present and future. Plus a couple of added topics for building trust with our boss. Now let’s build this boss management tool. I’ll be using PowerPoint because I like the stylish presentation Polish that we can add to the agenda tool. But the concept would work. If you use Microsoft Word or Excel, (please don’t use Excel) or even Notepad, no matter what, build it once and be consistent from meeting to meeting. I am coaching you through the mechanics, but along the way, I will provide clues for success. No matter what software you elect to build the agenda with. Here’s a blank PowerPoint presentation. And my first move is to set the canvas size. We’re targeting a printed page. So I’m going to go into the design ribbon menu and choose slight size and custom slide size.

You do want to switch from landscape to portrait as it will handle a longer list of tasks and then change to letter size for the proper printing dimensions. Do note that if you have a longer list of items to discuss, then you can elect to use bigger paper sizes, such as legal. Your printer must be able to accommodate the bigger paper, which from legal is not unusual in one of my jobs, the list was huge. And so I switched to tabloid size, which is double the letter size. And I had the printer that could use tablet, paper, but I want to warn you that such a large list of items may be more difficult to focus on in a weekly one-on-one meeting. I don’t recommend it as your meeting may just start to jump around. And the goal is stay focused on the most immediate and important actions that can fit on a single page.

In PowerPoint. The change will pop up a dialog box asking if we want to maximize or ensure the fit. It won’t matter because we’re making this change at the start of the process. Everyone changed the paper size and layout from the beginning. Next, we want to make this a two column agenda to fit all the key information in PowerPoint. We go to home on the ribbon menu and then we’ll select two content layouts, which gives us the title at the top. And two side by side text content placeholders. The next step we want to give our boss agenda a bit of style, but remember that this will be printed out. So don’t go overboard. I’m using PowerPoint design ribbon menu, and we’ll select a design that has some class, but mostly a white background to make it easier to print in black and white or have minimal distracting color backgrounds, know that the design choice will alter our color scheme, the font and the bullet layout.

This is all covered in our YouTube design tutorial listed above. One of the quirks of PowerPoint is that the design templates are expecting to be onscreen in a landscape layout, not our desired letter size dimensions. So when I add my title, a weekly meeting, we see that it is wasting too much real estate for the title. So I can resize it here. Take note that the meeting needs to include the meeting date, and we’ll see why in a few moments, but after reciting in PowerPoint, I find that the design template has this line that I can’t seem to click on to move up. The reason is that it is part of the slide master a concept we cover in the above listed YouTube tutorial. I will go into the view on the ribbon menu and choose slide master mode so that we can go in and fix it.

That’s not get too distracted with slide master mode, but understand that these items will alter the layouts for the whole presentation. Hint, learn more about our tutorials listed before. Basically we’re going to find that the separator line that we could not touch before and we’ll find it to get rid of it. Here we are on the two content layout. I’m going to change the title place holder, and then delete the extra line. Oops, we can’t do it here. Instead. We’re going to roll up to the top where the top parents lied is to get rid of that pesky line. And once I do cut it out, I am then to go back up there and close the master view. And we’ll see when we returned back to the slide that it’s gone. So now I’m going to hold on my shift key and select both of the content, text placeholders with them, both selected.

I move them up in unison to where they’re just below our title, after making the title bold, I’m going to go in and we’re going to start to add in the contents to our boss agenda. I am not going to spell out all the mechanics of PowerPoint, but instead focus on the highlights and the content strategy of our repeatable meeting list. It is important that we add a date in our title so that the paper forms can be referenced in sequence. And it’s best to add our name to the top, just in case other people adopt the same strategy. Our first category will be dealing with the recently completed tasks. Since our last meeting, this is a simple bullet list with no significant sorting. This should show progress from the last meeting, but may just have some small tasks to show that we are making the progress towards the bigger project.

The end goals will be from the past to the present, we’ll start the category of the ongoing actions. These are the items you’re focusing on and may include items where no progress is made, but what you are monitoring, this will not be a bullet list, but a numbered list and should be ranked with your top priorities on the top. During your meetings, you need to confirm with your boss that your property priorities tasks are what are most important note that this may be filled with a mix of small tasks of short duration and huge projects that have many individual tasks. You’re basically confirming that you and your boss see the same prioritization for all of these list items. You are not writing a novel or even a short story. They are topic headlines, and it’s your job to fill in the details in your discussion portion of the meeting.

These are just talking points, both PowerPoint and word has some quirky list. Indentation techniques. If you want to better understand how to control the first and following line tabs margins and spacing. See our complete tutorial listed above. I am zipping through the formatting, but note that I’m making the list items shrink down to 12 point in font size. This will not be presented on a screen, but on paper. So you can use smaller font Heights to fill more items on the page. I’m also making this size font, family and font color. This same for both groupings with the formatting down to the way that I want them. I’m now going to copy ongoing actions to our third grouping, and we’ll rename it to immediate future actions. This list is devoted to what you’re hoping to accomplish before the next meeting or in the real near future.

They should be supporting your bigger tasks and maybe closely related to your above ongoing actions. Many of the ongoing are too big to be finished in a single day or before your next meeting, but the immediate future actions should be tasks, not big projects. And you should plan on working on them. It is also a numbered list showing what is the highest priority items, meaning that you will be devoting most of your attentions to the items on the top of this portion of the list. The second ongoing actions may not be completed before the next meeting, but the immediate list should have many items that you could then move to complete a task before you meet again, let’s move to the right side of our agenda. I’m going to copy the first set of bullet items. This will not be a numbered list and pasted over on the right side to make it simple, to create it.

Our right hand side first grouping is on the positive note. Our successes. This should be a list of items that you or your team did. That was upbeat items that you’re proud of. It could be reporting a positive interaction or refer to a completed task that you felt proud of. It’s always great to have a positive portion in your meeting because the next section is all about issues. This is where you will share your struggles and maybe looking for advice. Bosses love to give advice and often they can provide guidance, sticky situations. One word of warning. If an issue has to deal with a person, be vague on your bulleted items. Paper has a way of getting misplaced or found on a printer, and it’s more than embarrassing to have someone find out that they’re an issue. Should they see the boss’s agenda be sensitive now for our last session I’m copying from above, but this will function differently.

The topic, new assignments, this is neither a bullet list or a numbered list. It is empty. Not that you won’t be getting new assignments because you will, but it’s a place to record these new assignments. And these new tasks may arise anytime during this meeting while discussing the previous sections, record them here. And at the end of your meeting, you can recite these all over again, just to get confirmation of what you should be working on. At this point, I’m doing some formatting changes to add some consistency and punch note that I’m aware that this will most likely be printed in black and white. So my color changes will be shades of gray, but it will give it a pleasant appearance. You may have access to a color printer. So plan accordingly. Also wait for the end of this training video, and I’ll explain how you can get this presentation downloaded for free and save you the trouble.

Let me give it a name and save it. So how do we use this boss agenda first, you create it and populate the data for your first meeting for not two copies, one for you and another for your boss. You might consider emailing advance, but I prefer to bring it fresh to the meeting. As many items needs my explanations for context. Otherwise, if your boss has ahead of time, he will start in with all the questions and drive the meetings. You want to control the agenda. Take notes on your page and confirm the priorities of your number list to make sure that your views of the world matches your bosses. After the meeting, go back to the same boss agenda file. Copy the slide, the most recent meeting, rename it and duplicate it with a new date for the next meeting, then edit with all the changes from your just completed meeting.

It’s important to do this right afterwards. So you do not lose any of the instructions. Remove the completed actions, reorder the ongoing actions. If your boss changed your priority, add any updates to your immediate actions and update the issue sections. If appropriate. Lastly, take all your handwritten notes and incorporate the new actions into the proper sections. Let this list now just sit well, not really. You now have instructions of what your actions should be for the upcoming week, but let the file just set. And when the time comes for your follow-up meeting, pull up the presentation, do all the updates of everything that’s happened since your last meeting. And you’re ready to go. And one more thing. This will be a great document. Should you have to participate in the annual performance review process, or you’re looking for evidence to convince your boss that you deserve a raise by going through your week by week diary of events or month by month. If you have less frequent meetings, you can capture all the successful work that you made happen over the past year.

You might be surprised at how trainable your boss can be. And more importantly, how more productive and less stressed you become. This can do wonders for your career and personal peace of mind here. At power training, we focus on practical education on Microsoft office tools in the work environment. But if you want more productivity hacks that I learned over the years in my career, let me know in the comments below, do like and share this video to encourage me to make more free content for you. Plus subscriptions, help grow this channel and keeps you up to date with my latest training. Lastly, look in the comments below or visit us at to download this PowerPoint boss’ agenda for your own use. As always our training material is free. Until next time go power up.