When joining any new organisation, one of your first missions is to get on the same page with your boss.
You need to have a firm understanding of what you are expected to accomplish in your role. Having clarity on what your boss expects will make it easier for you to deliver and excel during your first 90 days.
Therefore meeting with your new boss is of paramount importance. The information in this meeting is critical so do make notes.
Hereunder are 13 important questions that you must ask your new boss.
Can we review a copy of my job description?
Usually job descriptions are not exhaustive but it generally covers the main areas that you are responsible for.
Therefore, formally request the copy so that you can have a detailed understanding of what is required. Go through it line and line with your boss and ask for clarity in areas where necessary.
What are my performance objectives and how are these weighted in my appraisals?
It is essential to understand the aspects of your job your boss considers significant. While everything is important, not everything is significant or deal breakers. Also, ask for information on how your objectives are weighted.
Some objectives may be more important to the role, the manager and to the business. This will help you prioritise so that you will know where to focus your time and energy.
How would you describe the company’s culture?
Although you should have done your research for the interview, being on the other side of the fence will more than likely be different. Get a feel from your boss as to what are the core aspects of the company’s culture.
Some industries have their beliefs and it affects the way that people work. Get an accurate understanding of what the company expects.
Some companies may like you to think big. Others may believe in the principle of failing fast. This will make your adaptation process smoother.
What are the core competencies of employees of the company and the role in particular?
In addition to the culture, companies tend to have competencies which tend to make their employees successful. As an example does the company value excellence in service or initiative as key traits that employees must have.
Gain an understanding from your boss what competencies matters most to the business and to your role.
Is it possible to have a copy of the probation review? Additionally, is the assessment singular or 360?
Each organisation has its method of how performance is measured. In some companies the manager is the only person who assesses your performance.
On the other hand, some businesses include the opinions of your peers, if you are a people manager the opinion of your team.
Can we discuss my direct reports?
If you are a people manager, then be sure and discuss your direct reports. Get a feel from the manager of what they think about each member of the team?
Who are the outstanding performers? Are there any members on the team who are on a warning? Is there any member of the team who has resigned and is leaving? Does any member of the team report to anyone else?
This will give you clarity around the team and its structure.
Does the company have manuals/ guides/ contracts that are relevant to my role?
Depending on the processes of the business, how things work is more than likely already documented. It is great to know where to find contracts and operations manuals etc rather than going off on a wild goose chase.
If you are joining a start-up company then it is highly likely that this information may not be organised in such a fashion. So bear this in mind.
Are there any recurring meetings/ team meetings that I need to sit in on?
The last thing you will like is haphazard meetings popping up here and there as it will throw off the flow of your work. Ascertain upfront what meetings you need to sit in on.
Also, does he/she need a weekly meeting for feedback? Then get an idea of this and as well the format of the meeting. Is a presentation required? Do you need to submit a report?
Clarifying these requirements will help you manage your time much better eliminating ad hoc meeting request especially in the first 90 days.
What reports am I required to produce in this role?
Understanding the reporting requirements of the role will help you plan effectively. What weekly, monthly and quarterly, yearly reports are required? Are there any group/ head office requirements?
At least in the first 90 days you need to be aware of the weekly, monthly and quarterly reports. Knowing what these are will help you organise your time and plan ahead.
How would you describe your leadership/management style?
Get an understanding of how your boss’ style of management. As an example, Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg is famous for the quote done is better than perfect.
If you work for her, finishing a task is how she values progress as oppose to sitting and tweaking everything down to the smallest detail.
Were there any handover notes from my predecessor?
Find out if there are any notes or information left by the person who did you job prior. If this individual was thorough then these notes can make your job easier.
You may get to understand why things are a certain way and hence not waste time trying strategies that have already failed.
Is it possible to have a feedback session mid-way through my probationary period?
At times in organisations leaders could get very busy and often times these meetings could fall through the cracks.
Therefore, try and agree a feedback session at your first meeting. This will ensure that you get the valuable feedback that you require so that you can consistently deliver quality work.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own performance do not wait on your boss to schedule these.
What is the single most critical thing do I need to achieve to be successful in this role?
This question forces your boss to reduce everything that he /she has said to you in one single sentence.
This is critical as now you will know in 1 concise way the single most important thing that is required for success in your role.
If you are starting a new job, there are other resources on the blog that you may enjoy. Feel free to click on the following links below to explore:-
11 Valuable Tips For Starting A New Job
10 Tips For Young Persons Starting In The Workplace
How To Prepare For Your First Job Review
How To Survive The First 90 Days At A New Job
How To Survive The First 90 Days At A New Job As A Manager
Your first meeting with your new boss is one of the most critical meetings that you will have in the business.
This is your opportunity to ensure that you have all the information and tools so that you can excel during the first 90 days. Trust these questions above help you prepare for this meeting.
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