New Boss: Make a Great First Impression

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    make a good first impressionIf you’re getting a new boss in your existing job, consider getting ‘hired’ all over again.

    How many bosses have you had in your present job these past couple of years? I’ve asked this question in my career management and personal branding workshops. I heard everything from “my boss seems to hang on” to several who have come and gone to the unbelievable 5 new bosses in two years. Wow!

    How do you deal with this phenomenon – management churn – the revolving door strategy of managers in some organizations?

    Most of you who are reading this post are not at the level to change this strategy. That doesn’t mean you do nothing about your situation. A recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that you must look at each new boss with the notion of getting “hired” all over again. In other words, start making a good impression immediately. Here’s why.

    Most managers feel more invested in people they’ve hired personally. They reviewed the resumes, conducted the interviews and made the ultimate decision to hire the person. They are invested in that person. They want the person to succeed so that they will “look good” to their boss.

    But a new boss, who has inherited a team, needs to size up quickly each of his or her direct reports. Some people, with a new boss, keep doing what they’ve been doing waiting for the boss to tell them otherwise. But there’s another career strategy. That is, get ‘hired’ all over again by taking these three positive actions.

    1. Set up a short, perhaps 20 minute, meeting with your new boss.
    You can approach it as wanting to find out about her goals for the team so that you can make sure what you do is in sync with those goals. If the response is “I’m planning to do that with the whole team”, then say “great and perhaps after that meeting, we can meet to go over the specific responsibilities of my position.”

    2. Think about what you want your new boss to know.
    Develop a short presentation focusing on your accomplishments – the problems encountered and how you and the team handled them. If possible, pull together some samples of your work – reports, presentations, prototypes, brochures, whatever demonstrates your capabilities. Also be prepared if he or she asks you about present and future challenges for the department.

    3. Treat the meeting like a job interview.
    Start by saying, ‘Let me tell you about my role’. Review the presentation you prepared, highlighting your own achievements and those of your team. Don’t let this be a one-way conversation. Hopefully your boss will have questions so that you can go more in-depth about what you bring to the table. Then you ask your boss about her priorities for the department. Now start making the connection between the priorities and how you can meet them.

    Career Success Tip

    Somebody on the team may end up being the “go to guy or gal”. You might as well give yourself the opportunity to show that you could be that person.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?