One of the questions that I get asked all the time in coaching sessions and speaking engagements is, “How do I work with or influence my new boss?” That’s a great question because it outlines a situation that most executives are going to face multiple times throughout their careers. I wrote about this topic a few months ago in a riff on how Secretary of Defense Robert Gates rather seamlessly transitioned from working for George W. Bush to Barack Obama. (You can see that post here.)
A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a reporter who was working on a story about how to influence your boss and found the Gates post online. He was pitching the story to a web site that’s focused on Gen X and Gen Y guys in the workforce. When he told me the intended audience, my first thought about how to influence your boss was, “Ask for directions.” Of course, as any wife or girlfriend who has been lost with her guy in the car knows, asking for directions is one of the hardest things for guys to do. Getting into why that’s the case would provide enough material for a whole separate blog. So, let me focus in on why asking for direction is my first piece of advice for anyone (not just guys) who wants to influence their new boss.
Here are three quick tips: