Dear Dawn… New Boss – The Answer
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Dear Dawn… New Boss – The Answer

Dear Dawn… New Boss – The Answer

Gulf Business’ leadership expert, Dawn Metcalfe, answers the ninth question in the series.


After another week of discussion and comments the Gulf Business agony aunt Dawn Metcalfe gives her expert opinion on the latest question in the series.

The query last week was:

Dear Dawn,

My new boss is starting work next week and I want to be sure that I get off to a good start with him. Can you help?

PK, Dubai

And here is Dawn’s expert opinion:

Dear PK,

The relationship with your boss is arguably the single most important ingredient in determining your ultimate success within an organisation. Therefore how you manage that relationship can either see you fast-tracked up the corporate ladder or fall off it.

Here are nine ways to manage your boss by actively pursuing a healthy and productive working relationship based on mutual respect and understanding.

1. Be clear about what you need
You need your boss to help you develop your career, but don’t expect him to take responsibility for this – it is your job to think about what you need and then ask him to commit to helping you achieve this.

2. Do what you say you will
Following through on your commitments is a large part of building a mutually trusting relationship. It also makes it more difficult for your boss to ignore his commitments to you.

3. See him as a real person
Get to know a bit about what your boss does outside of work. This will give you some insight into what makes him tick and allow you to better understand the decisions he makes. Knowing a little about what interests your boss also gives you both something to talk about that is not directly work-related.

4. Don’t assume you know everything
When your boss takes a decision you do not agree with it is important that you understand the rationale behind his decision. Respectfully asking your boss to explain his rationale can help build trust and shows you are keen to improve and develop your understanding of the business.

5. Keep your boss in the loop
People typically underestimate what their bosses need to know and may overestimate what they do know. Keep your boss informed about both good and bad news in a way that suits their style. Some bosses prefer to be briefed in person so they can ask questions, while others want to process written information first, and then meet to discuss.

6. Show how you are making him successful
Self promotion doesn’t have to be slimy. Keep track of everything you’ve accomplished or initiated lately, so that you’re prepared when your boss asks how things are going and for your performance review.

7. Speak the truth
Integrity, dependability and honesty are valued by any good boss. Trustworthy subordinates only make promises they can keep and don’t shade the truth or play down difficult issues. When asked your opinion give it – don’t be a “yes” man.

8. Bring solutions
Your boss is busy so don’t approach him simply with problems you have identified. Have a couple of possible solutions ready and be prepared to explain their strengths and weaknesses.

9. Say thank you
When your boss follows through on a commitment or helps you in any way don’t forget to say thank you. He’s a human being and we all need to be told when we do something right.

Good luck!


The next professional query for week nine is now live and open for comment and debate. Follow the link here to participate.

Send your questions for Dawn anonymously to [email protected] and see them answered here next time.

Dawn Metcalfe is the managing director of Performance Development Services (PDS). Find out more at


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