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5 Conversations You Must Have With A New Boss

5 Conversations You Must Have With A New Boss

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Congratulations! You’re starting a new job. It’s an exciting time, sure, but also an uncertain time. There are so many questions: Will my responsibilities match the job description? Will I mesh with the new team?  Will they recognize my prior experience?  Will I be successful in my new role?

Related: 4 Phrases Your Boss LOVES To Hear

These are questions that time and on-the-job experience will answer, right?

Sure… to an extent.

While time and “just jumping in” with the team will ease some of those new-hire insecurities, the key element to beginning a new role is building a solid relationship with your manager.  Regardless of the “rockstar” status you possess in your industry or with a previous job, your prestigious degree, or even the years of experience that fill your resume, your manager is the gateway to success in your new role.

Some managers are better than others at nurturing a new employee. Right now, you’re probably thinking of a time when you started a new job, and your direct supervisor was, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

Sidenote: If you are a manager and this describes you, take this bit of tough-love advice: Your employees deserve better than that. They need you. Be the manager you would want to work for.  Take a moment to ponder that.

Building a relationship with your new manager isn’t complicated. It must be intentional, genuine, and built on a foundation of respect. As a new employee, ideally you should be spending some time with your manager every day for the first couple of weeks, even if only for a brief check-in. These meetings are ideal opportunities to jump-start the dialogue.  Here are five simple conversations you need to have with your boss when you start a new role:

1. Why Me?

Naturally, you were the most qualified among the applicants, right? Chances are, more went into the decision than simply your thoughtful interview answers, dazzling wit, and well-tailored suit. The hiring manager saw something in you that s/he felt would add value to the team. Find out why you were chosen, and spend each day proving that value.

2. How Can I learn?

Onboarding does not end with New Employee Orientation. Orientation is an event. Onboarding is a process – a learning process that should embrace a new employee in three ways:

  • Welcome the new employee to the COMPANY
  • Acquaint the new employee with the TEAM
  • Immerse the new employee into the ROLE

Like any new job, there is so much to learn about the company you’ve just joined, the team you are now a part of, and the role that you will be filling. Your manager should provide guidance, resources, and an opportunity to learn. With your manager, create a learning plan that will integrate you into your new role.

3. What’s The Plan?

Chances are your manager had a plan in place prior to your arrival. Spend time with your manager discussing this plan. Seek out opportunities to secure quick wins that will propel your credibility, but also create long-term, measurable goals that will impact the team and company. Ask your manager what your departmental and organizational objectives are, and ensure that your personal goals are clearly aligned.

4. I Need Your Feedback, And You Need Mine

Transparency is a key element to any successful relationship. Asking your manager for feedback and guidance will strengthen your alliance, and help ensure that you are meeting (and hopefully exceeding) expectations. While receiving feedback is important, so is providing feedback to your manager. This transparency breeds trust between an employee and manager. Remember, ask permission to provide feedback to your manager, and keep it respectful and relevant.

5. Be My Champion, And I’ll Be Yours

One of the greatest things an employee can do is to make his/her manager look good. To make that manager’s job a bit easier. And, of course, to give that manager something to brag about. What are you doing to support your manager? What are his goals for his own role – or for his future path within the organization? How can you help him be successful? Demonstrating a little selfless benevolence can go a long way to securing your own success.

Five simple conversations. Five opportunities to clarify expectations and build a solid partnership from the beginning. Take the time to get to know your manager, and help him/her affirm his/her decision that you are the right person for the job.

You are, after all.

This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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Michelle Baker Michelle Baker, a corporate learning strategist with phase(two)learning, has been a champion of learning in the workplace for 15 years.