I have been in New Situations where my Boss was a person that I have never worked for before and others where I knew them well. In the end, the best way to deal with the Boss is the same in either case. You have to understand your role in their mind and find out the success factors in it. What this is going to boil down to is Communication and Zero Based Thinking. By Communications, I mean you need to treat your Boss as your Customer and understand his/her needs just like you would any Customer. That means digging underneath the requests to the value represented by the requests. You need to understand this because your Boss may be giving you some ideas that become impractical to implement and you need to provide him/her with alternatives. If you don't clearly understand the desired outcome, then you can't build alternate plans. By Zero Based Thinking, I mean you need to eliminate your preconceptions. If you have not gone into a new company but have a new role within your existing employer, this is extremely important. If you don't examine data without preconceptions, you are likely to end up with wrong answers.
Once you have your plans, you need to have a method to show your Boss that you are making progress. The best way is to agree to metrics around the plans and goals. You can then report on the metrics and keep your Boss in the loop on updates to your plan. The most important part of these communications is that this you make this a joint plan. It is critical that you get buy-in from your Boss on your plan. This way when there are challenges, the two of you can adjust your plan. If you don't have buy-in, then you get explain your problems and corrective actions to your Boss. If you go down the latter path, eventually something will happen that your Boss finds reason to replace you.
Preconceptions are killers. Remember you are being brought in to provide judgement and value to the organization. If you can not evaluate things from the actual information, then you are going to be wrong. That is the point of Zero Based Thinking. When you have gone in with an Open Mind and started from the data that is available, you will have modeled the behavior for your reports. Your Boss will see you as gathering actual information and applying the lessons you have learned over your career to achieve.
Finally, I want to back up to where this started. You need to meet the goals of your Boss. That is why the twin mechanisms are so important. You can obtain freedom and trust by meeting those goals. If you don't believe in the goals that you are given, then I have to ask why you took on the role. If it was forced upon you, you have to know that you will not last long. So it important that you can align yourself with your Boss. A Boss that acts contrary to your values is not one that you will work for in the long run.
Jim Sackman Focal Point Business Coaching Change Your Business - Change Your Life! Business Coaching, Sales Training, Marketing Consultant, Behavioral Assessments, Business Planning