How to Greet a New Boss and Make a Good Impression

Casual discussion between coworkers
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When your boss leaves, it’s important to get off to a good start with your new boss. Here are ways to make sure you and your boss start off on the right foot, and alternatively, five ways to ensure you’ll be looking for a new job soon.

Know Your Job and Have a Good Track Record of Performance

It is the most important way to impress your new boss—be really good at what you do. Good leaders have a knack for sizing their new teams up within the first few weeks. They will ask around. If you're good at what you do, they'll pick up on it, and if you’re not, not much else will matter.

Be Proactive About Introducing Yourself to Your New Manager

If possible, send a resume ahead of time. Provide a summary of your responsibilities, the projects you're working on, your development plan and any other information that may not be in your official employee file.

Behaviors That Are Appreciated by Most New Managers

Enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, initiative, and good judgment. Behaviors that are frowned upon by a new manager: cynicism, whining, finger-pointing, skepticism, and acting like a know-it-all.

Clarifying Expectations Is Critical

Find out what your new manager expects from you (and other employees) in general. Be prepared to talk about what you expect from your manager in case you're asked—but only if asked. If you're not asked, that's usually not a good sign.

Help Your New Manager Learn

Be proactive, anticipate what they need to know and provide it at the appropriate time. Be patient. If your manager doesn't seem interested in learning, then again, that's a red flag. The best new leaders spend the first three months asking questions and listening.

Try to Minimize How Many Times You Say

"We tried that before and it didn't work."

Be Very Open to Change

Listen. Don't listen to evaluate, listen for possibilities. Chances are, there's a reason a new manager was brought in—don't come across as part of the problem. And maybe you are, but show a willingness and ability to adapt and change.

Learn About Your New Manager

Do a Google search, look up their LinkedIn profile. Find out about leadership style or philosophy. Ask questions about interests, hobbies, family, etc. Show an interest in getting to know him/her and offer information in return. Being vulnerable is the first step to building trust and a relationship. Play it by ear, don't offer too much too early (TMI), but be prepared to reciprocate.

Watch Your Manager's Back

Assume you already have a positive and stable working relationship, and act that way. Assume anything you say about your new boss will get back to them or end up on the company intranet front page the next day. Be an ally.

Don't Be a Blatant Suck-Up

A good leader usually knows the difference between sucking up and basic courtesy and competence. For those of you that are self-destructive, here are some ways to get off on the wrong foot with your new manager:

  1. Assume your new manager is incompetent, evil, and untrustworthy. Make them earn your respect and trust.
  2. Keep your head down and your mouth shut. Your new manager should learn the hard way, just like you did. Keep a low profile. Speak only when asked and offer only the bare minimum amount of information. Experience is the best teacher, and we all learn from our mistakes.
  3. Your job is to help your new manager learn the ropes and assimilate to the established way of doing things. Be a role model for conformity. It'll feel like you're breaking a wild horse for a while, but hang in there, because they all come around eventually.
  4. You know all of those grievances, grudges, and complaints you've been storing up? All of those things your previous manager wouldn't hear? Well, here's your big chance! Take the whole list with you for your very first meeting. Even better if you come in as the "spokesperson" for your team, your manager will respect your budding leadership potential.
  5. Remember, your best chance at success and climbing the old ladder is doing everything you can to sabotage your new boss. The dumber your new manager looks, the smarter you'll look. Don't miss an opportunity to correct or disagree with your manager, publicly, or even better, behind his/her back.

Oh, and by the way, if you're going to follow these five ways, be sure to get the contact information for your old manager. You may find that you're going to need a new job soon!