MUS stands for medarbejder udviklingssamtale, or "employee development conversation". It's an opportunity for you and your manager to talk about how you want to develop, and in what direction.
Your agendas and positions differ slightly in that regard. You want to develop professionally; your manager wants you to develop in a direction that's meaningful to the organisation. Fortunately, these two goals can easily line up. The conversation is a way to find, define, and solidify a common understanding and development plan.
What is your overall purpose for the conversation?
After thinking about the questions regarding your work, it can be a good idea to come up with a sort of headline that indicates your purpose for the conversation. This can help you stay focused during the conversation and support you in working toward the goal you set beforehand as it goes on.
Try to take an objective look at the different tasks you've performed and problems you've solved. If this is difficult, try a mental exercise: suppose you want to describe your typical work day and the main tasks you perform in your job to an old classmate you haven't seen in several years.
Is there an area you would emphasize? Is there another you could spend less time on? If you want to change the balance of tasks in your portfolio, and you feel like doing more of one thing and less of another, consider what the reason for that might be. Is it easy, difficult, monotonous, prone to conflict, or something else? Use your reflections to prepare, and think about what solutions you can suggest during the conversation.
If you'd like a shift in your work, think about what you want to get out of that shift. For example, is there a new area you'd like to work in? Are there methods you want to start applying? Is there something you'd like to specialise in? If you have an image of the direction you want to move in and what it entails, it will be easier for you to give specifics during the conversation. The more specific your MUS agreements are, the easier they will be to follow up on later.
When you know what goals you have for the conversation, think about what it will take to make them reality. Bring your suggestions to the conversation. Consider also that there can be many ways to the same goal, and think about alternative directions if your manager doesn't agree to something like continuing education courses right away. For example, you can look into opportunities for supervision, regular exchanges of ideas with colleagues, allowing other departments to "borrow" you, participating in new tasks for training purposes, or working in a new area as a trial run or sprint. Some people bring up pay negotiations in their MUS, too. In that regard, consider whether developing your skills will give you the arguments you need for a future conversation about that.
Formulate your arguments from an organisational perspective
Try to see your goals through your manager's eyes: Where can you find some common ground? What will your organisation, department, team, or manager get out of the development track you have in mind? If you can use your results from the past year as a starting point for your future direction, and argue how your development goals can produce an expected effect in the organisation, then you're well prepared.
Use this occasion to learn what your manager thinks of you. You might receive this kind of feedback without asking; if not, you can get some inspiration from the questions below.
- What direction do you see me going in?
- What do you need from me?
- What strategic goals do you think are particularly relevant to the work I do?
- What is my role?
- How can I help to support this process?
Some managers treat the MUS as an occasion for fine-tuning their leadership styles; consider the approaches your manager takes to leadership that suit you best. What would you like your manager to do more, or to continue doing? It's a good idea to have some very specific examples for this part of the conversation, since that makes it more likely that you'll both be talking about the same actions.
Preparing for your next MUS starts the very instant you walk out the door from this MUS. Together with your manager, you've agreed on some development points, and the content and direction of your work life for the year to come in that organisation. Throughout the year, keep track of whether or not you're able to achieve what you agreed on, and how your day-to-day work fits in with the topics you discussed at your last MUS.