Everybody wants to start off on the right foot with a new boss.
Particularly if you’re that new boss.
First impressions count – but you’ve been up to your eyeballs figuring out your new job, meeting other higher-ups, and sorting through the mass of paperwork left by your predecessor.
So how do you make the most of those early introductions?
Here are 5 things you can do that will have a big impact – and, thankfully, they’re not hard to do.
1) Keep A Smile On Your Face
If you can’t smile at least remove the frown.
“Recognize that people draw some impressions about you pretty quickly,” says Karen Dillon, coauthor of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. And it’s on you to make sure those first impressions are positive.
Your team is just as busy working as you are, so there’s no need to put a pouty face on even when you’re swamped.
Plus, your obvious positivity will likely rub off on everyone else.
It’s hard to stay grumpy when the boss is so upbeat.
2) Buy A Welcome Lunch
If you don’t have the funds to spring for lunch, just buy coffee, or pretzels or donuts. Set it out where employees congregate (i.e., not your office) so they can nosh with ease.
Any new boss who brings relief for those 3 p.m. munchies will be revered.
3) Don’t Just Focus On What You Need
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes, advises Michael Watkins, chair of Genesis Advisors and author of The First 90 Days. “Keep asking yourself, ‘How can I help them get up to speed faster?’”
Better yet, make it a point to ask your employees.
You might be surprised if your employees tell you no one ever asked them directly what they need to do their jobs better. Showing that you’re aware of their needs and can help goes a long way in establishing trust.
4) Find Common Ground
Make a point to learn about who your people are, their interests and their track record, says Watkins. Check out their LinkedIn profiles (even if you don’t link to them), or take a peek at their work areas.
Common interests like a favorite sports team, travel, or art or fitness activity are perfect ways to connect early on.
Employees might be wary at first, but establishing a common bond – no matter how small – can make a huge impact on how your employees approach you.
5) Share Your Favorite Communication Style
Let employees know your preferred method of communication for different types of issues. And give them time to adjust. If the former manager was strictly an email person, your phone calls and drop-ins might put them off – at least at first.
By being up-front about how you like to communicate, and being flexible enough to accommodate their preferences, you’ll win favor and encourage better communication.
And What To Avoid At All Costs…
Don’t lay it on too thick. Employees will be able to see through a new manager’s excessive boasting or kissing up pretty quickly, and you run the risk of looking fake.
And once employees get that impression it might never fade.
“Don’t try too hard to curry favor with [your employees] immediately,” says Watkins. “But [don’t] stay in the background [either].”
Your eagerness to make an impression should be to show an active interest in your employees and a desire to get along — but don’t go overboard.
You’re in charge now, so don’t be shy about taking the first step in establishing “new-boss” goodwill.
Do you have an advice tip for new managers? Share it in the comments section!
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