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  • Writer's pictureUlrika Gustafson PCC LL.M

Navigating the Executive Landscape: Building Strong Relationships with Your New Boss

Strong relationships play a critical role in leadership success. In this Leadership Insights post, I share insights and strategies for leaders to build meaningful connections with their new boss, fostering collaboration, trust, and a foundation for collective success.

1. Initiate Open and Honest Communication

From my years of coaching and leadership experience, I've seen that initiating open and honest communication is foundational. Schedule one-on-one meetings with your new boss to discuss expectations, goals, and preferred communication styles. This early dialogue sets the stage for a transparent and collaborative working relationship.

2. Demonstrate Proactive Engagement

Show your commitment to a positive working relationship by proactively engaging with your new boss. Seek opportunities to contribute ideas, share insights, and actively participate in discussions. Proactive engagement communicates your dedication to the success of the team and the organization.

3. Understand Their Leadership Style

Each leader has a unique leadership style. As an Executive Coach, I often advise leaders to invest time in understanding their new boss's approach to leadership. Identify their communication preferences, decision-making style, and expectations. This understanding enables you to align your efforts effectively.

4. Align Goals and Priorities

Establish alignment between your goals and the broader objectives of the organization. During discussions with your new boss, highlight how your initiatives contribute to the overarching mission. Demonstrating this alignment reinforces your commitment to organizational success.

5. Be Adaptable and Flexible

Flexibility is a key attribute in building relationships with new leaders. Understand that adjustments may be necessary as you navigate working together. Be adaptable to changes in strategy, priorities, or processes, showcasing your ability to navigate the evolving demands of leadership.

6. Seek Feedback and Act on It

Actively seek feedback from your new boss on your performance and contributions. Use this feedback as a guide for improvement and refinement. Taking constructive feedback into account demonstrates your dedication to continuous growth and development.

7. Establish Trust Through Reliability

Trust is fundamental in any professional relationship. Working with my coaching clients on this topic, I emphasize the importance of reliability. Consistently deliver on your commitments, meet deadlines, and communicate transparently about challenges. Reliability builds trust and credibility over time.

8. Facilitate Collaboration Across Teams

Act as a bridge between your team and other departments. Facilitate collaboration by fostering a culture of cross-functional communication. Demonstrating your ability to unify teams toward common goals contributes to a positive perception from your new boss.

9. Be Solution-Oriented

Approach challenges with a solution-oriented mindset. When presenting issues, also propose potential solutions. This proactive approach showcases your problem-solving abilities and positions you as a resourceful and valuable team member.

10. Express Gratitude and Acknowledge Contributions

Acknowledge your new boss's contributions and express gratitude for their leadership. Recognizing their efforts and achievements fosters a positive and collaborative atmosphere. Genuine appreciation contributes to a strong foundation for your working relationship.

Building a great relationship with a new boss requires a strategic and authentic approach. By incorporating these insights you can navigate the complexities of leadership transitions with confidence, fostering a collaborative and successful working relationship.

Ulrika Gustafson LL.M PCC is a Certified Executive Coach, former C-suite leader, lawyer and a partner of HAMILTON THERRELL Executive Advisors, an international advisory group of experts in leadership and organizational transformation. She advises CEOs and coaches senior executives on succeeding in demanding environments.


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