Meeting a new boss is a bit like going on a blind date. It's an uneasy mix of anticipation and anxiety. You don't know if you'll hit it off. Is your boss insecure? Confident? Needy? Energetic? Is he or she smart? Smarter than you are? What if your boss doesn't know what he or she is doing? Or worse yet -- what if your boss is just plain "bossy"?
Even if you've both worked in the same organization for a while -- even if you've been friends with this person -- a new manager-employee relationship is a time of change and opportunity. This person has the power to make or break your career in your organization. That's why the way you deal with your new boss at the start is so critical. Handled the wrong way, this new relationship could sabotage your career or even land you in the unemployment line. Keep in mind your boss will size you up at the same time that you're evaluating this person who now has power over you.
How you handle the situation depends in part on the nature of your business relationship. If it's a traditional boss-employee situation, knowing the organizational psychology is as important as knowing your boss's personality. Today, more people are finding themselves in less traditional situations, reporting to people who may be thousands of miles away or in a more fluid or collaborative work environment. Maybe you're new to the organization. These issues (and more) are important considerations as you formulate a strategy for dealing with your new manager.
This article will address ways to acquaint yourself with your boss, what to talk about when you do and how to make the most of the situation. We'll even talk about what your options are if things between you and your new boss turn ugly.
That's a last resort, though. If you go into this new situation with the right attitude, you could be opening up doors you never knew were there. In the next section, we'll start with proper introductions.