Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How to Work for a New Boss

By Laura Browne,

Getting a new boss can be difficult. It can also be a great opportunity for you to start a good solid working relationship. What can you do to start off right? Here are some questions you should ask to make the transition easier and keep your career on track:

Before You Meet Your New Boss:
  1. Ask Your Current Boss For Help – In many cases, your current boss will have a chance to talk to your new boss about you. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss to emphasize your strengths and interests when talking to your new boss.

  2. Ask Others That Have Worked With The New Boss – This is where your network can come in handy if the boss is transferring from another area. Don’t panic if you get negative comments from others. Wait and decide for yourself when you work with the person. You may hear a negative review of your new manager’s working style from someone that had a personality clash with them, but you may find your new boss works well with you.

Ask These Questions, When You Meet With Your New Boss:
  1. What’s Important To Them? Many employees make the mistake of focusing their first discussion with a new boss on their own job and career issues. While that is important to discuss, you should set the right tone by asking the manager to let you know what is important to him or her. What results are they interested in? What do they want to focus on?

  2. How Can You Help Them? What does your boss want from you? Ask them what previous employees have done that they found helpful. One of my employees asked me what she could do to make my job easier. I really appreciated that kind of support.

  3. What Problems Can You Help Them Solve? What keeps them up at night? You want to be seen as a trusted resource that can help them to be successful.

  4. How Do They Like To Get And Give Information? Some managers prefer quick emails and others like to have long meetings. It’s important to understand how your manager communicates and adapt your style. For example, if you now work for a manager that dislikes details and just wants to talk about the big picture, that’s what you should learn to do in order to get heard even if prefer to give lots of details.

  5. Do They Know Your Accomplishments? – Give your new boss a results summary with your accomplishments highlighted. Think of this as an internal resume and let your new boss know what you have done for the company. Discuss your strengths and be prepared to talk about how you plan to capitalize on them to support the new direction of the group.
  6. How Can You Use Your Strengths? – After you understand where your new boss wants to take the department, then you can talk about your career aspirations. Highlight your strengths and be prepared to talk about how you plan to capitalize on them. Don’t be shy, you want to make sure your boss knows what you’re good at. Talk about the next projects you want to work on and other development opportunities. Ask for their help and their ideas. You don’t need to cover all this in your first meeting, you may want to save this for a future discussion.
Getting a new boss can be a stressful time in your career. It’s important to realize that it’s also a stressful time for your boss. Let him or her know you want to help them be successful in their new role and they will want you to be successful too.

Do you want more helpful advice on job searching, career advancement and improving your leadership skills? Become a member of the Fresh Start Community of women today: Membership gives you exclusive access to all of the exciting & interactive workshops.

Laura C. Browne has more than 20 years experience as a corporate trainer and manager and is passionate about giving women the guidance and communication skills necessary to overcome and be successful despite workplace and gender-specific challenges. For almost ten years, women from Fortune 1000 companies have turned to Laura for career guidance and training. Laura is the author of Raise Rules for Women: How To Make More Money At Work and Why Can’t You Communicate Like Me? How Smart Women Get Results At Work (both titles available on Amazon Kindle).

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