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BLOGGreat First Impressions

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Professional DevelopmentTagged as:

So you suddenly have a new boss? You’re surely looking to make a good – or rather great – impression. After all, this person effectively controls your destiny: the type of projects, your compensation,  promotions, and the quality of your workday.

What can you do to ensure a proper transition – one that is in your interest and your new manager’s?

Prime the pump: If at all possible, help your new manager understand your role and responsibilities – including the type of work that you are best at – by arranging for your old manager to give your new one the “inside scoop” about you.

Exceed their objectives: What are your new manager’s goals? How is this person evaluated? Once you have a handle on what their objectives are, you are one step closer to understanding how you can help them achieve them.

Build your relationship anew: Don’t expect to have an instant relationship with a new manager. You have to earn their respect, day by day. And remember that it is not a manager’s job to “care” about you – they only care about your ability to solve their problem or meet their objectives. They will begin to “care” about you (and you them) as the relationship deepens. And it WILL deepen over time, as you work together getting things done.

Prepare to report: Be ready with a concise report on your area, describing your successes, your challenges, and the areas where you need their support. Be prepared to provide a summary of the status of the key clients/suppliers/processes/issues, with back-up details available on-hand.

Remember the stress of a new job: Starting any new job is stressful, and even if your manager doesn’t show it, they will have pressure from their new manager, scrutiny from their new peers, and the greatest scrutiny from their staff. If you can reduce their stress – both through performance and support – you will go a long way to helping them adjust. And this will pay dividends for you and your peers.

Remember the team: If you manage a team or network of individuals, remember them; look for ways to give your staff visibility to your new boss, and let them shine. Doing this will help demonstrate your success (and confidence) as a manager – and will allay some of your staff’s concerns too.

Suck up: You’ve got to be kidding! Be helpful and build a strong relationship, sure, but focus on doing a great job – not trying to curry favor. If you decide to try this strategy, you may gain some temporary advantage (if you have a gullible boss), but you will damage your credibility with your workmates, and ultimately lose their support.


These ideas aren’t only for a new boss – they work with anyone new who joins your team. And they work with your existing manager too. The next time someone new comes into your circle, go through these points before you first meet with them.

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