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When joining a new organisation, it is beneficial to invest into your relationship with your manager. They will ultimately help you to develop your career so building a good rapport is wise. Below are a few pointers on how to go about this:
1. Have an open mind
The style of manager you have experienced in the past will shape your expectations but try to be open and adapt to a new style from your manager. You may find that they start off a bit more involved initially and give you more autonomy once you are more established in your role and responsibilities.
2. Clarify expectations
Clarify any expectations early and often. Establish any short-term expectations vs. long term and how and when your performance be measured. If it is not offered at the outset, you should ask for a weekly catch up for the first few months into your role. If your manager is open to continuing that frequency in the longer term that is fantastic but depending on the number of direct reports your manager has will probably determine their availability. It is always worth asking though.
3. Recommend and improve
You may see business practices or processes that are different to what you are familiar with or ineffective but make sure you are not coming to your manager with problems. If you identify areas for improvement then come to your manager with recommendations.
4. Don’t monopolise your manager’s time
It is important to not be afraid to ask your manager questions when you need to. However, be conscious not to bombard your manager with questions. Save them up and ask them all at one time rather than regular interruptions or make an effort to think through problems first before always reverting to asking for help. You may just be seeking reassurance when you actually know the answer.
5. Look out for style clues
Tune in to your manager’s behaviours. Do they work late or arrive early in the office? Does he/she expect the same? Find out if they prefer to communicate via face-to-face, email or telephone. Find out which decisions are to be consulted on and when you are free to make a decision independently.
6. Look the part
First impressions count. Dress professionally and make sure your appearance is up to the same standards as the rest of the office. It’s better to be too smart at first and dress down if the rest of the office does, than to start with too casual a look.
7. Collaborate with colleagues
Your manager’s goal is to develop you as an individual, as well as developing a well performing team so nurturing relationships with your colleagues will also contribute to your relationship with your manager. Attend any social activities you can with your team members within your first three months.
Take responsibility for making your relationship with your manager work. It will definitely pay off!
Article written by Christopher Mackenzie, Managing Director at Cobalt Recruitment
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