With all the busyness and excitement of starting your new role it’s easy to forget to check in with your boss. Leave it too long and it may be too late. It’s tempting to let them come to you, especially if a tough reputation precedes them. Do that and you’re leaving yourself exposed. This is the golden hour for you to put in the foundations and build a relationship with the most important and influential person in your career at this moment. So grab the bull by the horns and get some time in the diary. What should you discuss? How’s about the following:
As you are familiarising yourself with the role and possibly the organisation, break down how you see the first 100 days working. Ask for a specific timeframe to get to grips with the new world around you before you present a diagnosis along with game plan for your objectives and quick wins for the rest of your transition.
Get real clarity on how your boss currently sees you and how he or she expects you to develop. This can be difficult to hear but suck it up, it’s better out than in. Listen carefully as they outline their expectations with regard to their goals for you. Clarify how these goals will be measured and what constitutes success or otherwise. Never forget that a negotiation is a two-way street, so be wide awake to what each objective involves. If something is unrealistic, now is the time to say it, not six months down the track when you’re walking out the door with a pink slip. Be prepared to educate them on why an expectation is unrealistic and outline what you will require in terms of resourcing and funding in order to make things happen.
Ways of Working
You will possibly already have a grasp on how they operate and how they like to do things, but there’s no harm in clarifying this. For instance, some may prefer to communicate via phone over email. How do you ensure that they are going to open one of your emails? What prompts in the subject field will increase the odds? What do they consider to be signal (important) and noise (unimportant). And what decisions should you consult them on? If you don’t get a handle on their style, you risk being considered an irritant.
What’s not being said?
During your initial engagements with your boss keep your radar up for their beliefs and values. This will help you assess areas that are in bounds or out of bounds. If you’re careful and ask the right questions you may find out a lot more than they originally wished to disclose about their own personal ambitions. This type of information is gold dust and could be useful when it comes to making offers to address any unmet needs. So always keep your antennae up, you’ll never know what you’ll pick up.