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strong relationship with your new boss
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7 keys to building a strong relationship with your new boss

‪A new boss is coming in? Maybe you should plan on how you will develop that new relationship. It’s certainly been my experience that the better I get along with my boss, the more motivated and happier I am with my job. You’ll see below why you should invest energy and effort in establishing that strong relationship with your new boss right from the beginning.

The idea is not to suck up to your new boss. But simply to offer the support and help he or she may need to ease the transition.

How much does the new boss know about the specifics of your business?

I’ve been working in the energy business for a long time. More than once I’ve experienced a new boss coming in from outside of the company. While the new person was equipped with good business and management skills, the specific field of the business had to be acquired. A supportive team made a huge difference in this case.

These experiences also made me realize how, for anyone just joining the team, the language and expressions we use in our field can be hard to follow. We use so many abbreviations and acronyms in our day-to-day discussions. It can kind of sound like a foreign language for anyone just joining the team.

You probably experienced it yourself, when you first started in a job. Remember how it felt when your level of knowledge was not up to speed with everyone else’s? Remember to put yourself in your boss’ shoes. And be prepared to provide a greater level of details than you may have been used to with your previous boss.

Create a good first impression

You know the saying, ‘You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression’?   It’s also very relevant when you’re looking to establish a relationship of trust with your new boss.

Your first work will be decisive on whether your new boss categorizes you as an above average employee, or as one who simply meets standard expectations.

Which means, that the first few documents or mandates you get to produce should be of the very best quality. So that right from the start, your boss can appreciate you as an employee who is smart and on top of things.

RELATED: 5 things you can do to stand out at work

Concrete steps to building a strong relationship with your new boss

1. One-pager describing your responsibilities
Have a one-pager ready for your 1st or 2nd meeting with your new boss. Very simply describing your responsibilities, within the context of the team’s role. This concise document shows you are professional and may even be a handy reference for your boss during the adaptation period.

2. Only discuss the urgent issues 
Very shortly after, provide your new boss with current issues that will shortly need to be addressed. Only talk about those that really are urgent. You don’t want to sound like an employee with no judgment who cannot prioritize.

3. Ideas on changes to improve the team’s performance
When the right moment comes, suggest a list of changes you believe would help improve your performance, or that of the team. Support your statements with simple and concrete examples. Remain objective by sticking to the facts as much as possible when making these suggestions. So that your boss sees you as an employee who is focused on the future. Not as one who has accumulated a lot of frustration and is stuck on criticism.

4. Offer your help
Make your boss feel comfortable to consult you at anytime when looking for information on the business. The quicker your new boss learns the abc’s of the business, the better for you and the team. As it will allow for easier discussions to take place and will ease the decision-making process.

5. Patience is required
For a little while, you may have to prepare more detailed documents than you’re used to. If you’re looking for a decision to be made for example, make sure you provide enough background information on the subject you will be discussing. In order to make your boss feel confident about making this decision. More work, but worth it.

6. Be social, open and friendly
It’s tough for a new boss to join an existing team. Not all managers are extroverts. ‬Show interest in how your boss is doing. Make the time for some small talk before you get into the serious discussions. Talk about how the weekend went, or about your boss’ favorite sport.

7. Don’t overdo it
Go easy with your requests and ideas for change. You don’t want to overload your new boss with asks. Timing is everything. And to create a bond, let the relationship evolve in a natural and gradual way.

The outcome is worth the effort

What happens if you manage to develop a strong relationship with your new boss from the get go? You have a much better chance of becoming one of his or her chosen allies. You will probably get more interesting mandates and gain better exposure in the company.

And when a new job opportunity comes along, it is likely your boss will speak highly of you and support your candidacy.

Let me know how adapting to a new boss went for you. Do you see yourself applying these recommendations? Would love to get your feedback! Comment below.

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Join the discussion

  1. Dominique Laflamme

    Just read your post which comes handy since I have a new boss coming in on Monday. I also wrote her an email telling her what the dress code is. We work in an unusual setting so I thought she would appreciate knowing for example not to wear high heels since our entire floor is in concrete!

    • Martha Morrice

      Good idea to inform her! Hope the other tips will be of help. Keep me posted on how it goes!

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