Your new boss will have more influence than anyone else on whether you succeed or fail in your career. You boss sets your goals and benchmarks. Your boss influences others as to how they perceive your performance. Your boss controls the resources available to you. (For the sake of keeping things short, either the masculine or feminine form is used in my blogs.)
Therefore, to ensure a prosperous career, make sure your relationship with your boss is a successful one and that our conversations are strategic. Research indicates that people choose to work for companies, but leave because of bad relationships with their bosses. Why? Let’s use the example of Peter, a talent from company JCY, who had enthusiastically accepted a promotion that included a move to Singapore. Because he had already moved multiple times to new countries, he was used to integrating into new places and positions. Nothing prepared Peter for the disastrous relationship he was going to have with his new boss, George! George immediately began plotting against him and when things became impossible for Peter, he decided to leave the company. Had he taken a few precautions, misunderstandings could have been avoided.
Avoid derailing in your new job, here are the first 4 tips.
1. Building understanding
A professional distance between you and your boss is to be expected. Your boss is a human being with his own personality, preferences, and weaknesses. Find out what these are.
2. What are your boss’ concerns then help
If your boss is challenged with a particular problem or is experiencing personal problems that are affecting his ability to accomplish the job, help where you can. If you want to improve your relationship with your boss discover what his major concerns, challenges, and values are and cooperate to the best of your abilities.
3. Manage expectations immediately
By clarifying mutual expectations at the onset of your relationship, later misunderstandings and conflicts can be avoided. You are in trouble if your boss expects you to fix problems quickly and you find out that the business has serious, long-lasting problems. It is prudent to get bad news on the table early and lower unrealistic expectations.
4. Agree with your boss about targets.
As an archer, you wouldn’t shoot in all directions and hope to hit the target. Find out what your boss’s targets and expectations are. Be specific. You can ask your boss where he wants the company to be in a year. Then figure out how he intends to reduce the gap between the current and desired situation. What is his strategy to get the company from where it is to where it should be? You could use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to uncover your boss’s expectations or how he sees the situation. You do not have to agree with your boss’s expectations or how he sees the situation, but you do need to respect your boss’s position as s/he sees it.
As a re-cap, during your initial meetings with your new boss, it is essential that you:
- Build rapport and understanding of where s/he is coming from
- Discover your boss’ major concerns and challenges
- Manage s/he expectations immediately and get bad news on the table early
- Agree with your boss about targets and how they are going to be measured
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