How to Make Your New Boss Become Your New Mentor

Getting a new boss can be nerve-racking, but there are a few things we can do to start on the right path.

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Juanmonino/ Getty Images
Juanmonino/ Getty Images

I have been very fortunate that most of my bosses, supervisors, managers, or leaders have been supportive to me. In general, I have had great experiences working both for or with them.  Some of them have even turned into lifelong mentors, and have encouraged me to grow in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought possible.

Nonetheless, handling a new boss can open up many areas of uncertainties, and can be difficult to navigate, especially as a newbie or rookie on the team.

Below are some thoughts that I have found useful when learning to work with new bosses:

Keep an open mind: It’s really a blank slate. You don’t know much yet, so keep an open attitude about your new boss.

Pay Attention to Everything: At the beginning stages, it is important to be attentive to everything that is provided by the new boss. That is, every single instruction, and every directive or guidance should be carefully interpreted and executed. If anything is unclear, you should try to clarify immediately. As a newbie, you are likely to be forgiven even if you’re asking too many questions.

Read non-verbal cues: Not everything is said in words. Many non-verbal cues can offer more information about your new boss. For instance, is your boss always thorough and on the ball? This may suggest he or she is a perfectionist.  Often you can learn even more by paying attention to their non-verbal language.

Seek out feedback from trustworthy and seasoned employees: If I am still uncertain about the new boss or sensing an uneasy vibe, I may seek out feedback from some seasoned employees.  This isn’t something I will do immediately, especially if I have not built a trustworthy relationship with new colleagues or coworkers yet. But it may be helpful down the road, as seasoned employees have spent more time with your boss and may have useful advice to share.

Do your job well.  Finally, you should not forget that the basic premise to any great relationship with your boss is to ensure you do your job well, thoroughly, and without problems or headaches for your boss to deal with.  This may take a bit of learning curve if you are new to the job, but you should strive to perform at your best every single day.

Learning to work for or with a new boss is an exciting time because he or she may help you to thrive in your career.  While a lot is still unknown at the beginning stage, a safe way to start is to build a positive and healthy rapport with your boss. I hope this advice is helpful, and I hope your new boss will turn into your best coach or mentor for your career.

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