How to Start Strong with a New Boss

The talent landscape is in a major flux; niche industries are growing rapidly, people are changing jobs, and many companies are going through re-orgs.

Getting a new boss, even if you’re not in a new role, can be a nerve-racking experience. You want to make a good impression and you know the first few weeks count for a lot. But in this ever-changing, very weird landscape, what does a good impression look like?

Below are four tips to help you start strong with a new boss (no matter the chaos around you).

  1. Recognize, they want to make a good impression, too.

The employer-employee relationship is progressively becoming more of a two-way street. Your new boss wants you to like them and be excited about working with them. They want you to think that they’re a good leader and they’re fair and they’re invested in your development.

Put their mind at ease by expressing your enthusiasm about working together. It will make them less nervous and they’ll probably reciprocate your excitement, which will make you less nervous.

  1. Set your relationship up for success by clarifying expectations.

Even if you’re still in the same role, ask your new boss what success looks like for them (in their role) in the first 30, 60 and 90 days.

In a rapidly changing virtual world, the get-to-know-each other stage can be brief at best. People come into new roles with all kinds of expectations, ambitions and even assumptions. A high-level conversation about what they expect from you and quite frankly, vice-versa, starts everyone off with clarity.

  1. Ask questions early and often. 

Better to find out their version of correct now when you both still have the reputational grace of this relationship being new, rather than six months from now.  Asking confirmation questions of a new boss like, “Would you like me to update you on this weekly?” will help quiet some of your ‘I hope I’m doing this right’ feelings.

  1. Be a resource.

As hierarchies become more wide than they are tall, you can be a valuable resource to your boss, even if you’re new to the organization. Offering to help, especially early on, sets the stage for a trusting, supportive partnership.

The first few weeks of a relationship typically establish the direction, dynamics and habits going forward. The relationship with your new boss has the same foundational pillars of any successful relationship. Clear expectations, regular communication and mutual support.