During the interview process, your future manager is sizing you up, not just to see if you can do the job, but to evaluate what type of employee you’ll be. The real test happens during your first 90 days on the job. Will you be able to live up to your new manager’s expectations – both spoken and unspoken?
Here are the secret traits that a manager wants to see from you in your new role, even if they aren’t revealed outright.
1. You’re easy to manage. You aren’t the only person your manager has to oversee, so he hopes that you’ll require minimum oversight. He also expects you to learn as much as you can independently, without a lot of hand-holding and formal training. When your manager asks you to do something, he expects that you’ll do it quickly and give it your all without complaining. The ideal new hire comes up to speed quickly and asks appropriate questions. This person knows boundaries and when to ask for help.
2. You play well with others. Teamwork is important. You’ve been working in teams throughout school and in earlier roles, so this isn’t new to you. Being a good team member means that people want to collaborate with you because you are fair and logical. You know how to work through differences and always pick up the slack for others to keep things moving smoothly.
3. You communicate clearly. If your manager needs you to interact with a client or senior management, she doesn’t want to worry that you’ll be an embarrassment. You must be able to succinctly summarize the message and provide just the right amount of information. You speak with an air of credibility, not arrogance, and you sound like you are doing more than just filling in. Be that team member your manager can count on.
4. You’re likable. This isn’t the same as being easy to manage. When you are likable, your manager enjoys being around you. You are positive and have an easy smile. You listen to what others say and show an interest in others and the world around you. You know how to keep the conversation alive and when it’s time to have fun.
5. You possess tact and diplomacy. In times of stress, and when the stakes are high, your manager hopes you will handle the situation appropriately. That could mean that your manager expects you to handle the situation the same way she would. Watch your manager and learn how she handles difficult situations. Emulate her style and ask for feedback when necessary.
6. You make your boss look good. Credit your manager for any support, ideas or resources. Put this in writing and tell your manager in person. Be sure to never criticize your manager in public or make him look foolish. And don’t try to corner your boss by asking questions he can’t answer. Some managers invest a lot of time and energy into developing team members. But even if yours hasn’t, you should still help make her shine by truthfully acknowledging her support or leadership.
These unspoken expectations don’t often come up during the interview process, nor are they overtly discussed when you start your job. It is up to you to manage your success in the new role by getting your manager to open up and communicate expectations.
You can get the ball rolling by asking questions about top priorities for you in the role and how your performance will be assessed along the way. You can also ask your manager to tell you about one of the best employees and what that employee did to deserve the honor. Together with your manager, you can build a plan to come up to speed as quickly as possible and learn the new company’s processes and procedures. By having this open dialogue, you have already begun to earn respect from your new manager.
By Hannah Morgan of U.S. News and World Report