One of the worst things you can do when you start a new job is make your supervisor look bad for hiring you. After all, your boss is key to your job satisfaction and your success in the organisation — and perhaps even beyond.
If there ever were a relationship for you to invest in, this is it. So, here are five ways to get off to a great start with your new supervisor. Your efforts now will lay the groundwork for a productive working relationship.
Watch and learn
The most important thing is to observe the company culture and your supervisor closely for the first few weeks, says Terese Corey Blanck, principal, College to Career, a career-consulting firm in suburban Minneapolis. Keep your opinions to yourself until you understand the company culture well and know what people will look upon with favour and what theyll look upon with disdain.
Even something as simple as asking intelligent questions will make a difference to how your boss perceives you as an employee. Its always better to clarify than to charge off and go completely in the wrong direction, Corey Blanck says.
Keep in touch
Some bosses are very hands-on, keeping a close tab on you throughout your workday. Others may talk to you once a week or less often and send you on your way to do your job. Whatever your supervisors style, its up to you to establish and maintain the lines of communication between the two of you. Using either email or the occasional stop-by-the-office visit, make sure you keep your boss informed about the answers to these questions:
What are you working on?
What have you finished, and what are the results?
What can you help your supervisor with?
Allison Hemming, author of Work It! How to Get Ahead, Save Your Ass, and Land a Job in Any Economy and founder of The Hired Guns, a Manhattan-based interim workforce agency, talks about a candidate she recently placed with a major investment bank.
Two weeks into the job, we got a call from her manager, saying that she was doing a terrific job, but that she sometimes dressed inappropriately — in shorts, short skirts and open-toed shoes, says Hemming. The manager asked me to have a chat with the person, because they really liked her and didnt want her attire to impact her ability to get promoted in future. The new hire was a bit shocked to discover her fashion faux pas were damaging her relationships with her supervisor and colleagues, but she quickly made the necessary changes to her wardrobe.
Make a move
Any new employee can sit around waiting to be told what to do. Why not be proactive enough to figure it out yourself so your supervisor doesnt have to hold your hand? Take the initiative to get something done when you see it needs getting done, says Corey Blanck. It can be something as simple as taking a stack of files and going through them before youre asked — anything to show that youre not beneath the small tasks that take up everyones time. Come in early and stay late, says Stephen Viscusi, author of On the Job: How to Make It in the Real World of Work. You should be busy whenever youre starting a new job, learning the ropes, but even when youre not, perfect the art of looking busy.
Do great work
This might seem like obvious advise for developing a solid relationship with your new boss, but it bears repeating. Make your boss look good by working hard, says Viscusi. Its old-fashioned, but it really works.