The finding out, the fitting in, the euphoria that serves to blind in those first few heady weeks, lulling you perhaps into a conscious incompetence as you take baby steps daily to establish your position and to learn how it all works: just what is the way we do things around here?
The corporacy, the politics, the people, the dos and don’ts, the unwritten ground rules, the clashes, the culture, a momentary gut-instinct that it’s what’s not said, rather than what is, that counts.
And amidst all this, your efforts to relationship-build with those around you. And especially with someone who really matters: your boss.
Boss, it’s a funny word, isn’t it. Its etymology suggests, variously, origins in the Dutch word baas or “a master” … though the one I like best is that which supposedly comes from Old French, boce . . . “lump, bulge, protuberance, knot”. Hmm, form your own opinion of that one, please. (Having been a boss, I’m not sure I like it.)
Well, wherever it’s come from, how do you make sure you know where you’re going? To be clear on how to behave and react in those first few weeks as you try to ease into that new relationship? To tread carefully, watch, listen and learn? To know when to ask questions, make notes? To speak up, share your feelings, work hard? Essential behaviours in any situation, new or established.
But the key to the rapport-building that you hope will bear fruit, the appropriate camaraderie that you’re yearning for is, perhaps . . .
- Withhold judgement
- Step out of preference occasionally
- Accept allowable weakness
- Don’t judge based on just one example or interaction
- Pay great attention to all feedback
- Don’t forget why they employed you