By my dear friend and CEO Coach Debra Benton

How do you ‘go on board’ when you’re already there?

When you get a new boss you are the unknown. Even though your job position hasn’t changed, you have to take the same action as if you are going on board a new position.

When nearly 10% loose their jobs the remaining 90% get shuffled around ending up with different reporting relationships.

Before you meet your new boss take some time and Monday morning quarterback the mistakes you made with your previous boss. Think about and write down what you should have done differently then plan to remedy past errors.

Provide positive support even if you feel you should have gotten the job. You didn’t. How you handle yourself at this standpoint might get you the job next time.

Welcome the person the same way you might a new neighbor. Invite to lunch or offer to bring sandwiches in to have time to talk and get to know each other

Ask and listen to learn how to best work together; don’t guess. Find out his or her first 30-90 day agenda; the most important issues or problems to solve. Here’s an occasion to ask basic, maybe even stupid-sounding questions. When one executive was asked, how do you prefer to communicate: face to face, telephone, email? He said, ‘I like yellow post-it notes left on my desk so when I return to my office I can scan them and see what I need to respond to.”

Make the impression you want your new boss to have of you. Show confidence in who you are and what you bring to the table. From the first time you meet ensure the message you send is the one you intend with your appearance, manner, and comportment. If you have self-doubt, the person will cut you off in a heartbeat. You’ll never really recover if you misstep here.

Tell your new boss about your job duties, responsibilities, your team, and scope of work as it fits in with the rest of the department/company. Seek out how he or she views changes in your role. (Don’t criticize your former boss.)

Delve into Google, Facebook, Linkedin, or other internet sources. People put information on themselves they want you to know. Keep in mind, your new manager is likely reading your profile and updates as well.

Observe and study how he or she interacts and reacts to colleagues, subordinates, and superiors. In a non-judgmental fashion look for consistencies and inconsistencies; check out what works and doesn’t work with the individual.

After you understand what your new boss wants to achieve and avoid, do something successful and worthwhile around it. Sticking to your old bosses agenda is a mistake. There is a new sheriff downtown. Do more than the person expects; demonstrate initiative without requiring further direction. Come in with, “This is what we should do and here’s how I think we should do it.” Don’t pester with, “Now what should I do?”

And, stay in touch with your old boss. If things don’t go well, he or she might be a source of good advice – or a resource for ways to get out.

You might ask, “Isn’t it the boss’s job to get to know me?” Yes, it is. And he or she is getting to know you by how you get to know her.


  1. I would love to travel and see the world, but I’ve never had the money nor the guts- being a single women. Any thoughts Ivan?

Leave a reply