Focus on the fundamentals to build a productive relationship with a new boss
- Clarify your expectations early and often
Start managing expectations the moment you go for the interview. For example, if the business is in bad shape and your boss expects you to fix things fast, let them know during the interview that you’ll need ample time to come up with a plan. After you’re hired, check in often to ensure that your boss’s expectations are still the same.
- Maintain contact with your boss even if they give you space
Schedule regular meetings with your boss to ensure there are no communication gaps. Use these meetings to keep them aware of the issues you face, even if you have uncomfortable interactions with them. It’s your responsibility to make the relationship work, so resist the urge to distance yourself from them.
- Go for early wins in areas that are important to your boss
What areas does your boss care about the most? What are their priorities and goals? Answer these questions the moment you’re hired and then focus on getting quick results in these areas.
- Inform your boss the moment a problem emerges
Let your new boss know as soon as a problem develops. The only thing worse than giving your boss bad news is not informing them early enough about a problem. Better to tell them than to have them hear the news from someone else.
- Approach your boss with problems as well as potential solutions
When you inform your boss about a problem, have a plan on how you intend to solve it. Let it be a general plan containing an outline of the problem and the help you need. Avoid presenting full-blown solutions that may surprise your boss.
- Form positive connections with people your boss respects
Your new boss has people all over the organization that they trust. These could be your peers or even subordinates. Pay attention to how these people perceive you and maintain a good working relationship with them.
- Adapt to your boss’s style instead of expecting them to change
You may have a different working, communication, or motivational style from your boss. However, it’s your responsibility to adapt to their style and not the other way around. Study them and change your style to suit their preferences.
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