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 create a good rapport when you start working with a new manager and get you off on the right foot.
The first meeting
Point number one, make sure you have the 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 an excellent 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 coordinate their manager’s diary effectively and it should be the primary service provided, asking this question will mean you get it right early on.
For more tips on how to organise your one to one, check out 6 things to stop doing in your one to one.
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 naturally 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 efficiently and that will impress your boss, be it clearing their long overdue 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.
Are you a new Assistant?
Our eBook, ‘Starting out as a New Assistant‘, is designed to help you navigate the first few months of your new role. Here you will find everything you need for the initial first meeting with your Executive. You will also find articles on how to navigate the tricky world of working with the Executive Team, building rapport with your new Executive and advice on how you can work effectively with a boss who has never had an Assistant before.