Questions You May Not Have Thought to Ask Your New Manager


Organizations are living, breathing things that, like us, are moving quickly. Some of the leaders I know experience new reporting relationships as much as a couple of times a year – meaning they have only have a short period of time to get to know a new a manager that they haven’t worked with before. Starting out on the right foot by asking some questions is important to your success – and more importantly, your manager’s success. This is true no matter what level you are at in the organization.

While you may be nervous about your own success under your new manager, you’ll receive a lot of insight into what is expected of you by asking them questions about what is important to them. Those questions will be best received (and you’ll have a better chance of developing the relationship early on) when they are at least partially focused on how you can help your manager to be successful. It’s also helpful to know something about what is important to your manager personally.

Generally, when you are interviewed for a new position, you may ask one set of questions – some of which might include the ones here. But often, I find that when the right questions aren’t asked as leaders launch into a new position, there can be problems down the line.

Questions to ask your new manager

  • What is your vision for our organization?
    • How can I best contribute to the vision?
  • What are your top personal values?
    • How do those values impact the way you lead?
  • How would you characterize your leadership style?
  • How will you evaluate my performance? What about my performance is most important to you?
  • Who are my most important stakeholders (in addition to you)?
  • Who is most likely to help me with my mission inside the organization and outside of the organization?
  • Who is most likely to sabotage my mission?
  • What will you need to know about my area of responsibility on an ongoing basis?
  • How often should you and I meet to discuss performance and progress on my mission?
    • What kind of data or reports would you like to see?
  • What does success look like for our organization?
    • What does success look like for the part that I’m responsible for?
  • What barriers to success should I be aware of?

Learning about your new manager and their expectations is important. Asking a few open-ended questions early in the relationship can help. What have you asked your new manager that’s helped you to be a better leader?



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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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