“Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond.”
So says motivational speaker Tony Robbins as he describes rapport. It’s a skill anyone can learn – and perhaps at no time is it more important than when you’re building a relationship with a new boss.
Everyone has a different leadership style. A simple observation of your boss during the first few days you work together can tell you how they like to relate to their employees.
- It may take a while. Some people simply don’t concern themselves with pleasantries in the workplace, so it could take some time before your boss stops treating you with formality. Don’t worry too much if this happens.
- Use mirroring. As you get to know your boss’s spoken and body language, you can reflect them when the two of you interact. (Law enforcement officials do this when interviewing witnesses to get them to open up.) If your manager uses simple, direct words, you should too. Research has shown that copying a person’s speech patterns and vocal tones and volumes makes them feel more comfortable and as though they are being understood.
Dealing with Awkwardness
If the situation with your new boss feels particularly awkward, take some time to reflect on the situation. Talk with someone you trust. Their perspective could prove invaluable in determining the source of the problem.
Become wary if your boss:
- Fails to include you in meetings you feel are important to your success.
- Fails to return your messages.
- Appears generally disinterested in what you’re doing.
- Never says hello or chats with you, at least via a simple salutation.
Without these simple communication mechanisms in place, you’re powerless to know whether or not you’re doing a good job.
Make a Connection
In a sincere manner, take steps to create rapport with your new boss.
- Start with the basics. Ideally, your boss will introduce him or herself to you but if not, take the initiative. Shake hands, look them in the eye and smile. If they have not done so, suggest a one-on-one meeting.
- Follow up. Watch for opportunities to help your boss, and take them. If your boss doesn’t respond to your request for a meeting within a reasonable time, revisit the request.
- Actions speak louder than words. Show your new boss what you can do. In the process, be open, friendly and communicative.
- Find common ground. Look for something other than work that connects you to your boss. Do you live in the same town, have kids at the same school, like the same sports team? Do you both ski or golf or share a passion for jazz music?
New relationships can be like walking on eggshells at first. But if handled correctly, you’ll soon be on firm ground with your new boss and the two of you can collaborate – and make great things happen for the future of your company.
For further tips on reaching your career goals – and perfecting the many steps along the way – read our related posts or contact the experts at Alternative Staffing, North Charleston and Orangeburg, today.