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5 Tips to Ace Your First Meeting with a New Boss

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When it comes to meeting your new boss for the first time, you likely feel a bit anxious and nervous about it. You want to make a good impression and get off on the right foot with the person you’ll be working closely with for the foreseeable future.

To say you want this first meeting with your new boss to go well is probably a bit of an understatement. That’s why we’ve provided tips, questions to ask, and even a meeting agenda to follow for your first meeting with a new boss below. So let’s dive right in.

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5 Must-Do’s for Your First Meeting with a New Boss

In order to ensure your first meeting with a new boss goes smoothly, there are a few things that you can do as an employee.

  1. Show Genuine Interest in Getting to Know Your Boss: While there are plenty of work-related items to discuss with your new boss, don’t overlook spending some time getting to know your boss personally and beginning to form connections. It’s important though that your efforts are genuine and authentic. If your boss gets the impression that you are doing so to try to “suck up” to them, your actions may have the opposite effect of what you intended.

  2. Come Prepared: Arriving at your first meeting with your new boss prepared with questions and any necessary information or documents is a surefire way to make a good impression. In addition, it tells your boss that you respect their time and wish to make the most of it, which is highly appreciated.

  3. Clarify Expectations: You want to walk out of this meeting with your new boss feeling that you know what is expected of you in your role and how your performance will be measured. So, be sure to ask your boss questions regarding their expectations and ask for specifics as needed to ensure clarity.

  4. Establish Checkpoints: One of your goals during this meeting should be to establish regular checkpoints with your new boss where you will be able to ask questions, get constructive feedback, seek guidance, and receive coaching. Ideally, you will set a cadence for one-on-one meetings and establish communication preferences for urgent matters.

  5. Ask Them How You Can Make Their Job Easier: A great way to make a lasting impression on your new boss is to ask them the simple question, “How can I make your job easier?” By presenting yourself as an employee who is eager and ready to help wherever needed, you will begin to earn your boss’s trust and respect.


Questions to Ask During Your First Meeting With a New Boss

You’ll likely have a list of questions a mile long the first time you meet with your new boss. However, if time is short or you don’t want to overwhelm your new boss, you will need to prioritize your burning questions from the rest that can wait until another day. To give you an idea of the types of questions you should ask during your first meeting with a new boss, here are a few to consider:

  • What would you like to know about me?
  • What should I know about your leadership style or approach?
  • What are your priorities? What wins do you need?
  • What would you like to see me accomplish in the next month/six months/year?
  • What is your vision for the team?
  • What can I do going forward that will make your job easier?
  • What would you do first if you were in my shoes?
  • How do you like to receive constructive feedback?
  • If I need help or support, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?
  • What qualities do you most appreciate in your direct reports?
  • Do you host weekly one-on-one meetings? If not, would you be open to it?

Questions to Ask During Your First Meeting With a New Boss


How To Create an Agenda for the First Meeting with a New Boss

Besides asking the right questions and implementing the tips listed above, another way to ensure your first meeting with a new boss is a success is to give the meeting structure, and you can do that by creating an agenda. When you do so, consider applying the following formula to ensure you have time to begin building a relationship, get clarity on assignments and goals, and finally, discuss the big picture and long-term.

3-Step Agenda for the First Meeting with a New Boss


First Third of the Meeting: Build Rapport

During the first third of the meeting, spend time asking questions about your boss, telling stories, and sharing more about yourself. The first third of the meeting is a chance to get to know each other as people who have lives and interests beyond work. So take a sincere interest in what your boss is saying and be genuine and authentic when speaking about yourself.


Second Third of the Meeting: Review Goals and Assignments

In the next part of the meeting with your new boss, you should begin discussing objectives, goals, expectations, and assignments related to your role. The goal here is to walk away with a greater understanding of what is expected of you, how to carry out your job, and how your performance will be evaluated.


Final Third of the Meeting: Discuss the Future

To conclude your first meeting with your new boss, share any personal development goals you are working towards and what you see for your career long-term. By initiating these future-focused, career conversations early, you show your new boss that you are motivated to succeed in your position and are ready to do what is necessary to get there.

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