Getting your feet under the real or virtual! desk

Future proofing your career - useful blogs

Well done, you’ve made it and now you are the new starter with a brand new job and responsibilities, new colleagues….new boss. Wow. Quite a lot to take in. And quite a lot to get right – or at least try to. But don’t panic. Often, people’s expectations of you are tempered by their willingness to help you at the start, and so ‘oil the wheels’ of a smooth transition. After all, your wellbeing translates to theirs.

Your boss’s (or Management’s) expectations of you might be slightly more demanding, especially if they take into account your claims at interview, and you would do well to prepare the ground, know what’s expected and what will make them happy. And what makes your boss happy should also make Senior Management happy.

When you start a new job either remotely or on site, you’ll be aware that your boss, who probably hired, will have invested quite a lot of personal capital in you. Letting them down could impact quite negatively (on you both) so you’ll want to get off on the right foot.

The key to establishing a good relationship is communication. However, people manage others differently: some are very hands-on, keen to discuss things openly and often with their team, chasing a shared team objective; others less so. You may have to take the initiative and speak regularly with your new boss (face-to-face) in order to establish rules, guidelines and your joint expectations. What you must do is work out what things are most important to them. They may be facing issues that your skills can help with and, if you show quickly that you can do that, you’ll have gained their immediate regard and approval. 

Once you’ve set out a plan between you, then any steps you can take to implement that plan and exceed their expectations should please you both enormously. So, the initial conversation(s) with them should establish a) what is most important to them, and b) what they do expect of you in return? That will set the ‘joint plan’.

Of course, you must beware of any (seemingly) unrealistic expectations of you and if there’s a lack of suitable resources or the infrastructure simply won’t support your efforts, you must be prepared to describe fully what shortages you may have identified. (However, be careful you’re not being used merely as a stalking horse for disgruntled colleagues.)

Communication within the office or department is important and if you know of someone whose opinion your boss listens to more than others, then make sure that person is aware of your successes – whatever they are; they’re more likely to be relayed upstairs, to your benefit. If, for example, there’s a monthly target or sales project for the department to achieve, then work not only with the team, but the ‘right’ individual.

Of course, people will respect a good showing of initiative – but when someone appears to be a know-it-all there’s a difference, so be careful. If you can be seen by your boss to be asking the right sort of questions, e.g. what you can do to help the team, that will be well received by everybody.

Finally, anyone starting in a new role is going to be under scrutiny by all members of the team. Will they fit in? Will they be part of the team, or a loner? How will they really perform, or are our expectations to high? And these same questions will occur not only to your fellow workers, but to your boss. So, find out exactly what their expectations are (and are not), and strive to exceed them.

Starting a new job can be both daunting and exciting but the one person you must impress more than others is your boss. Different bosses have different agendas and the key is finding out what makes your one tick – and what makes them stop ticking. It’s up to you.

Key Points

  • Immediate communication to establish expectations and ground rules
  • Remember the personal capital they have invested in you
  • Take the initiative
  • Learn to perform well on those issues deemed important by your boss
  • Work closely with your fellow team members to identify these priorities
  • Get to know who is likely to have the boss’s ear
  • Do not ‘show off’; keep your dignity

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