3 Simple Steps to Build a Lasting Relationship with Your New Boss

A new job usually comes with a new boss, and your relationship with your direct supervisor is one of the key factors in job satisfaction. Taking a proactive approach to building your relationship with a new boss can improve satisfaction throughout your time in your new role.

So, how can we get started on the right foot with an executive who is likely to have a firm vision with high expectations for performance?

Be intentional about what you bring in and what you want to gain from the experience – new skills, an expanded network, a platform for your ideas, etc. It’s knowing both what you want to do and who you want to be.

With this awareness, we can make better decisions when opportunities arise.

Build self-awareness.

Achieving this awareness requires some quiet time to reflect. I suggest you start with journaling. Summarize what you hope to learn in this role, what strengths you bring to the role, and the type of identity you appreciate most. Remember some of your past relationships with the boss, what happened, what part of it was under your control, and what would you do differently next time?

With those answers in mind and on paper, draft a vision statement about who you want to be in this role and the ideal relationship you’ll have with your boss.

Be open and listen.

Of course, relationships are two-way. You can only control your thoughts, feelings and actions – not theirs. So as you begin to develop this connection, the key is to be open and listening. It’s taking a pause before you can respond and react. That pause gives you a chance to check in with that vision of who you want to be, then align your actions accordingly.

Understand expectations.

It’s important to be clear on your new CEO’s expectations. Spend some time brainstorming some questions you can ask to better understand what they need and want. What is his vision for this role? What are their communication preferences? How do you know if they are looking for something different from you?

That doesn’t mean you have to replace yourself as their ideal employee. This is simply information you can use to find and highlight points of agreement and alignment. You’ll want to demonstrate how you’re advancing their vision – or offering a better option they hadn’t considered.

When you take a proactive approach to your relationship with a new boss you can ease your transition and dramatically increase your new job satisfaction. Relationships between leaders are similar to other supervisory relationships within your organization. A strong relationship with your direct supervisor saves you from frustration, frustration, and defensiveness later if you know what they’re looking for.

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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.