how to improve a relationship with a new manager

5 Questions to Ask Your New Manager

Whether starting a new role or making an internal transfer and working under a new manager, it can be challenging to adapt to different leadership styles. A poor relationship with management is a leading cause of disengagement and turnover, with 82% of workers reporting they would consider leaving their current job because of their relationship with their manager. While these relationships are a two-way street, taking the initiative to start out on the best foot possible can go a long way to not only avoiding miscommunication, but helping improve job satisfaction long term. 

Here are 5 essential questions to ask a new manager to strengthen rapport and feel more confident and engaged in the role right off the bat:  


What are your goals and expectations? 

Go beyond the basics of what the role entails. Demonstrate a deeper understanding of each responsibility and goal to help make sure there is alignment. It’s not just about the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and daily check list, it’s about understanding how each responsibility impacts the team and contributes to overall company goals. Make sure to get aligned with management’s onboarding timeline, then prioritize work accordingly. 

Remember management’s expectations go beyond daily production to include behavior, communication and culture, as well.  What is expected during meetings or while collaborating with other departments? Understanding these elements can help set someone apart from the start.  

How do you prefer to communicate? 

Miscommunication is a leading factor of poor relationships both in life and work…but it’s one of the easiest issues to resolve. A manager’s job is to help an employee develop, grow and get promoted. An employee’s job is to make their managers’ job easier and that starts with knowing how to effectively communicate with them.  

How frequently do they want updates on progress? Would they prefer written or verbal recaps, and how often? Do they prefer email, text or call?  Make sure to ask these questions, no matter how simple they may seem, in order to minimize frustrations down the line.  

What primary challenges is the team facing? 

Understanding what challenges the team is facing can help improve understanding of the team dynamic, bring attention to what behaviors to change and pinpoint projects to offer help on. By having an understanding of team challenges early on, certain mistakes can be avoided and instead start contributing to the team’s overarching goals from day one.  

What are the major projects the team is working on, and are there any hold-ups or common issues they’ve been facing? Has the team been overwhelmed or struggling with a particular skillset? Have there been new processes or technologies the team is adapting to? After understanding the challenges of the team overall, be a part of the solution by bringing new ideas, positive energy and a different outlook, and proactively sharpen certain skillsets that may be needed.   

What qualities do you appreciate most in the people you work with? 

This not only shows what qualities are most valuable, but what behaviors to avoid. Maybe they like employees who are inquisitive and share new ideas with the team. Maybe they especially appreciate employees who over communicate and send frequent updates. This doesn’t mean they expect everyone to fit a particular mold, but it gives an idea of what strengths to highlight from the start. Also ask who on the team or at the company has these qualities. Then get to know them.   

How do you spend your free time? 

Find common ground outside of work. Knowing more about someone personally can help create stronger ties and understand one another on a personal level. We’re not asking to achieve best friend status but finding personal commonalities can help improve communication and the overall working relationship. Whether it’s a shared hobby or love for a certain author, simple similarities can help form a connection and humanize leaders.  


Still looking for your next role? We can help. View our open jobs here.  

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