Congratulations you got the job, you’ve worked your notice, you have bought a few outfits and now you are sitting at your desk ready to face the challenges of a new role. Hopefully you would have been interviewed by your new manager so you will have gained some understanding of what they are like and what they require from you. Nevertheless it can be a daunting prospect working with a total stranger, especially as a PA/EA because we do need to build strong and close working relationships with our bosses. Here are some of my tips on how to make sure you build a good rapport with your new manager and get off on the right foot.
The first meeting
Point number one, make sure you have a first meeting with your new manager! During the meeting make sure you cover what is expected of you and how you will work together, also discuss the following points:
- What are your manager’s priorities for the week, month, year? What are they focussing on and what are their objectives? Asking these questions will enable you to quickly pick up on prioritising their emails, travel plans and meetings.
- What are their frustrations and how can you help to relieve them? This shows that you are supportive and will be a good resource for them to rely on. Also senior members of staff do not often get a chance to talk about what irritates them at work, by asking them this question it shows that they can turn to you for advice.
- How does your manager prefer to communicate? Is it by email, regular meetings or popping into the office as and when things crop up? Finding out how they like to receive information will help you build a good rapport with them straight away.
- How do they organise their calendar and how do they like to have their meetings set out? It is fundamental for a PA/EA to organise their manager’s diary effectively and it should be the basic service provided, asking this question will mean you get it right early on.
The right-hand person
During the first few days in your new role schedule meetings with your manager’s trusted advisors. Ask them about your new manager and how they like to work, this will help you gain a better understanding of your manager from another perspective. Also any member of the management team might be your boss one day so it is good to get them on your side straight away.
New boss / new you
Comparing your new boss with your old one obviously will happen, especially if you had a good relationship with your previous manager, but try not to mention this to the new one, it will annoy them. Instead talk about best practice and systems you used in your old company that might help in your new role. Try to be positive and start afresh with your new manager.
Think about quick wins that you can achieve easily and that will impress your boss, be it clearing their long over due filing or using your contacts to get them an upgrade on a flight. Proactively look for ways to help them be more organised and make sure you use your PA /EA strengths to get things moving. However, a word of warning, be sensitive! You are in a new environment but your colleagues have been working there for a while and might think the current systems are just fine. In the first few months be subtle, remember to consult the individuals concerned before you make any radical changes.
After a few weeks organise for you and your new boss to go out for lunch. This will give you the opportunity to meet in a relaxed atmosphere and get to know each other a bit better. Having even a basic knowledge of your manager’s home life is beneficial in building a good rapport with them.
I hope you found these tips beneficial. After a few weeks you will have settled into your job and will be on your way to establishing a good relationship with your manager.