Shortly before he or she takes charge, there are briefings and formal meetings about the formal handing over of duties. Of course, not to mention those hush-hush coffee machine 'crib-n-bitch' sessions from old loyal cronies of the ex-boss.
A new boss obviously augurs different things to different people. It will also be rather difficult to draw a common 'welcome new boss' program as different industries have different work cultures and formality norms.
In an advertising agency, the new boss can be introduced over cocktails at the lounge at lunch hour, while in an industry that manufactures gear assemblies, the welcome probably would be more stiff and formal, and perhaps more 'Welcome ring master' type.
This isn't about how to welcome your new boss, as we are sure he will feel your welcomes in the first five minutes that he walks in. This is about 5 important things that you should tell your new boss (Nope, it isn't about rattling on who is sleeping with whom after office hours either).
- Putting yourself in his good books
The natural law of the concrete jungle - self before rest! So no matter if your colleagues think you are a bit of a sycophant, you have to take the initiative to make sure you make a good impression by speaking to the point, yet leaving enough room for your personality to shine through.
The use of some special phrases or an excellent vocabulary should see you through this phase where everyone's eyes are on you, yet you want to show your new boss what you are all about. To use a contract bride metaphor, you are opening the bidding and just want to convey precisely to the partner what cards you hold without giving away too much.
- Convey any conditions you might have
This is perhaps more significant than the previous one. If you have any special health conditions requiring special medication or requiring any special considerations or concessions, now is the time to speak.
It is very difficult for your boss to reorganize or reallocate work just because he didn't know you are allergic to air-conditioning or have diabetes. Of course, the new boss will go through the dossier that HR has on you about any such thing, but it will serve you well to cut short the boss' work by volunteering information about yourself. The flip side is that your boss will appreciate you being upfront and thus be in his good books that way.
- Setting Expectations
This is a group activity because if you do this solo it could backfire and you could alienate yourself from your colleagues. You can hold a joint meeting and take into consideration what are the best healthy practices you can adopt or promote in your department and whether they can be extended to the organization.
When your new boss arrives, make a written formal presentation of your thoughts so that it can be on record and will be appreciated and taken seriously. Any prevailing condition that is affecting productivity or morale at the workplace should be pointed out.
It could be lighting arrangements to ventilation or even promoting better hygiene. Take care, however, that you name no names, as that will just be a 'gossip presentation' or a witchhunt which leaves a bad taste for a new boss just stepping in.
- Use discretion when rattling on your colleagues
Discretion is the key when it comes to volunteering information on any of your colleagues. Not because you will be found out, but because it isn't a hygienic thing to do.
However, if you notice something unusual about any of your colleagues, then by all means, bring it to the notice of the boss as it could be a serious mental affliction, health condition or depression, which even the person might not be aware of.
Just take a look at the suicide rates of seemingly normal people and you could well save someone some grief. In case of sexual harassment that you have personally noticed, then it makes sense to point that out to the new boss immediately so that preventive measures can be taken.
If you see someone with a likely problem, then try talking to the person first as it could well be your imagination at work. The boss might even precipitate things for this other person because nobody bothered to tell on him. So sometimes being a gossip can help, but as said before, be extremely discreet.
- Bosses are human too
Your new boss is a human being. Wow! You didn't know? Well, they might have a thoroughly 'no nonsense exterior' and mean business most of the time, but don't let his icy glare cut through your honest intentions. We often make wrong assumptions about people from the expressions that they wear.
The new boss obviously is going to wear a mask and keep the guard up. So it's up to you to make him warm up to you and the workplace as well, without letting go of the fact that it is a professional relationship and therefore be mindful that some distance is required.
As long as you don't expect playing golf with your boss on the first weekend of his joining your department, then we can assume that you are a reasonably sensible person and can inculcate the points mentioned above. However, if you manage to do just that, then we are sure either you have exceptional people skills or the new boss is a complete idiot!