Start off right with the new boss
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Whether the new boss was promoted from within or an unknown entity, getting off on the right foot is critical to setting the stage for the new relationship. Here are a few simple tips about what to do — and not do — to start off right with the new boss.
What to do
The new boss will be getting his (or her) bearings, sitting in many meetings and generally soaking up a lot of information. Fight the urge to add to his plate. With so many things fighting for his attention, it may seem like we should do whatever we can to rise above the fray, but that will not help.
Instead, let your actions speak for themselves. Follow whatever guidelines he has in place to schedule a meeting, show up with whatever he asked for and stick to the allotted time. Come prepared to talk about contributions, but only when asked.
Before the meeting, it will also help to consider the situation into which the new boss is walking. What would you want to know if you were him? What would help with the transition?
Again, fight the urge to bring the solutions to every anticipated problem. Instead, bring questions. Ask for actions, documents, solutions or perspectives he may want before providing them.
What not to do
Interviewing for a must-have job after being unemployed for a long time can increase the pressure to perform. Employees often bring that same intensity to the first meeting with the boss. Yet, just like in an important interview, it is critical not to overdo it. Find a balance.
For example, be prepared to provide examples of success when asked but do not provide a history of everything that is wrong and how you would fix it. Arrive ready to encourage and support, not to suck up with actions you have already taken on his behalf.
Take the time to research him on LinkedIn and find common ground. Don't schmooze, drop names or kiss up. And while it is great to be prepared to talk about anything, do not try to accomplish it all in the first meeting.
Instead, give him some space. Listen to what is on the forefront of his mind and respond accordingly. This is just the beginning of the relationship; enthusiasm is good but being overzealous will lead to burnout.
Finally, and most importantly, find a way to be honest. This may sound easy, yet it can be challenging to provide candid feedback without an agenda.
If the new boss is already a known entity from in-house, try to find a way to present information diplomatically and without assumption. If he is from another organization, craft answers that provide fact-based information along with informed perspective. It is not necessary to give wavering, politician-type nonanswers; it is important to remain tactful and genuine.
The bottom line is meeting the new boss can be fraught with challenges. The good news is he usually is clear about what he wants to hear and does not, when he wants to hear it, how long he has and what would be helpful for his transition.
Like any interview, listen to what he is asking for and give it to him in your own unique way.
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