Impress Your New Boss: 6 Smart Tips

Last Updated Oct 12, 2011 6:44 PM EDT

A new boss is a great career opportunity. Whether you loved or loathed the last top dog in your office, having a new manager leaves room for fresh opportunities. And if you're starting a new job, a good first impression with your superior is crucial.

But beware of simply becoming a "yes man": Trying to be her favorite player on the team could come off as brown-nosing, unless you're careful.

Here are 6 smarter tips from my career experts. Follow them and you'll be in like Flynn with the new guy or gal:

1. Offer Him Inside Information
If your new manager is a new arrival, you have one key thing that he needs -- knowledge of company culture, from tiny details to overall attitudes and politics.

"It may be as simple as who you go to for ordering supplies or how to set up technology and telephone. On the other hand, it may involve more complex matters that are often less transparent, such as who needs to be included in an email distribution, how decisions typically get made, and what requests are a priority," says Roy Cohen, career coach and author, The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide.

Make him look good -- and you'll look good to him.

2. Anticipate Her Needs
Part of making your new manager look good will be figuring out what she needs before she knows--and these needs will be different than those of your last boss. "It may be completing the agenda for that meeting before being asked, or coming to your weekly planning meeting prepared and with previously assigned goals met," says Stephen Kennedy, account supervisor & Connecticut Internship Program coordinator at CJP Communications. If she sees you're on top of things, she's less likely to become a micromanager later on.

3. Stay Enthusiastic
The first day or two, you're going to be totally focused on this new manager -- but you'll need to maintain that enthusiasm after the first week.

"In the first few days of working with your new boss, schedule time to meet with her to find out what projects she would like you to focus on -- the goals outlined in this meeting should all be SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely," says Samantha Zupan of Glassdoor.com.

These goals will help you use your energy to make concrete progress with your new boss's most important projects.

4. Have Talking Points Ready Just like in a job interview, you want to prepare in order to impress while you're still "under evaluation" by a new manager. Whether you have a scheduled meeting or are just interacting casually throughout the day, make sure you have questions to ask, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs: "This will help to show that you're motivated in your role and that you want to collaborate. But use moderation with this -- you don't want to harass your new boss or it could backfire!"

5. Ask 'How Can I Help?'
It seems so simple, but junior-level employees sometimes rely on being told what to do. Don't wait for direction from on high: If you hear the new boss dealing with an issue you can help with, offer your assistance.

"If you keep asking, eventually the new boss will take you up on your offer and give you a chance to shine. This will lead them to delegating more work to you, so that you can become an invaluable resource that they can't live without," says J.T. O'Donnell, CEO of CareerHMO.com. Job security, anyone?

6. Schedule A Pre-Review Progress Report
Why wait until your first review with a manager to develop a rapport and fix any issues? A few weeks in, try to set up a short meeting to touch base.

"Take a few minutes to meet with your [new] boss to make sure you are on track, living up to expectations, communicating your ideas, and doing things in the way they need to be done," says Kimberly Schneiderman, founder of City Career Services.

Did you get along well with your boss right away or did it take time? Why/why not? Please sign in below and share.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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