A new job usually comes with a new boss, and your relationship with your direct supervisor is one of the key factors for work satisfaction. Taking a proactive approach to building your relationship with a new boss can improve satisfaction throughout your time in your new role.
So, how can we start off on the right foot with an executive who likely has a firm vision coupled with high expectations for performance?
Be intentional about what you bring and what you want to get out of the experience–new skills, an expanded network, a platform for your ideas, etc. It’s knowing both what you want to do and who you want to become.
With this awareness, we can make better decisions as opportunities arise.
Gaining this awareness requires some quiet time to reflect. I suggest you start by journaling. Jot down what you hope to learn in this role, what strengths you’re bringing to the role, and what type of recognition you appreciate most. Recall some of your past relationships with bosses, what happened, which part of that was in your control, and what would you do differently the next time around?
With those answers in mind and on paper, draft a vision statement for who you want to be in this role and the ideal relationship you’d have with your boss.
Be Open and Listen.
Relationships are, of course, two-way. You can only control your thoughts, feelings, and actions–not theirs. So as you begin to develop this relationship, the key is openness and listening. It’s taking a pause before you respond and react. That pause gives you a chance to check in with that vision of who you want to be, then align your actions accordingly.
Getting clear on your new CEO’s expectations is key. Spend some time brainstorming a couple of questions you might ask to better understand what they want and need. What’s their vision for this role? What are their communication preferences? How will you know if they’re looking for something different from you?
This doesn’t mean you have to contort yourself into their ideal employee. It’s just information you can use to find and highlight points of agreement and alignment. You’ll want to demonstrate how you’re furthering their vision–or offering a better alternative they hadn’t considered.
You can ease your transition and dramatically increase new job satisfaction when you take a proactive approach to your relationship with a new boss. Relationships between leaders are just like other supervisory relationships within your organization. A strong relationship with your direct supervisor saves you from disappointment, frustration, and defensiveness later on if you know what they’re looking for upfront.