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Building Rapport in a New Job

Q: I have recently been recruited for a mid-managerial position with a large property management firm in the Southwest. Given that I'm an outsider, I'm concerned about how to build good rapport with the supervisors reporting to me, some of whom undoubtedly think they should have been offered my job. How do I go about winning their respect and allegiance?

A: Begin by recognizing two important facts:

  1. Your supervisors know a great deal about their individual areas. You need their expertise to do your job effectively.
  2. From top management's point of view, you must have better big picture skills than any of your subordinates, otherwise the firm would have promoted one of them instead of hiring you.

By exhibiting a keen awareness that you and the supervisors need each other, you'll achieve an important first step toward gaining their loyalty and respect. Of course, some of them will resent you for taking the position they wanted. But they're likely to support your efforts if you ask for their input on important decisions.

Unless it's critical to business survival, don't spearhead any major changes for three to six months. Instead, get together with each of your supervisors to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of his or her area and options for improvement.

Develop a master plan for your division, using both top management's and your supervisors' input. Then refine the plan with your key people, before introducing it to everyone. Getting your staffs advice on how to proceed is not only politically astute, it's also a smart management technique for building a winning team.

 Career Dimensions ● 214-208-1706 ●

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