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Great First Impressions

by Randall Craig on July 18, 2006

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , ,

So you have a new boss? You’re surely looking to make a good – no let’s make that a great – impression. After all, this person effectively controls your destiny: the type of projects you work on, the size of your raise, whether you get a promotion, and the quality of your workday. Of course, you don’t get a new boss every day, but still, there’s something that you can learn…

What can you do to ensure a proper transition – one that is in your interest as much as theirs?

Prime the pump: If at all possible, help your new manager understand your role and responsibilities – including the type of work that you are interested in – 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 meeting their objectives.

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 customers/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 – either through performance or by 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, 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.

This Week’s Action Item: 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.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)