How do I get off to a good start with a new boss?

by admin on January 18, 2011

Your Goals: Accomplish two things early on in this fresh relationship: (1) educate your new supervisor on your responsibilities, and (2) equip that person to give you feedback now and later on his/her priorities for what you add to the team. Here’s how.

Your First Task: Create a table or spread sheet containing these columns. The first one is essential. You may not use all of the rest, you might change the order of their appearance, and you could add others relevant to your situation.

Column 1: List the top ten contributions you believe you make to the company. These are the principal ways in which you add value to external customers, to internal customers, and to the bottom line. Ten is not a magic number, but two or three may not be descriptive enough and 27 is too many.

Column 2: Show the relative value added by each contribution. Use a highest-very high-high-medium scale or something similar. An even more revealing assessment would show the relative percentage of your total 100% of worth that each one adds.

Column 3: Identify specifically what is added to the team, department, or company by the entries in Column 1.

Column 4: You might provide a rough estimate of the time or effort required by each of your efforts.

Column 5: Your new boss will appreciate what internal customers you collaborate with or rely on to accomplish each part of your role in making him or her a success.

Column 6: Reveal the barriers you’re striving to overcome, and the degree of success with each one, on the way to full accomplishment of each contribution.

Your Second Task: Even if you do nothing further with your spreadsheet, you will have gained insight into the application of Pareto’s Law to your job. That is, you’ll have a sharper focus on the 20% of your workday that generates 80% of the positive impact you generate. Reflect on what you’ve done. Get feedback from a trusted accountability ally for tone and for your new boss’s likely reaction before you show the spreadsheet to him or her. Finally, give thought to how you believe your role might evolve in the future to add even greater value. Anticipate that you may be asked to describe this, but don’t initiate such a discussion unless asked. A new supervisor may see such enthusiasm as self-serving.

Your Final Task: Meet with your boss to share the spreadsheet. Answer questions with clarity, directness, and non-defensiveness. Remain open to feedback. Agree to revise the analysis based on that feedback. Work toward a mutual consensus of what you should be doing in your role now and into the future. Achieve full support for the priorities you have in your work.

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