I've been working in my current Company for about 5 years. Over the course of that time there has been a lot of staff turnover - including in managerial positions.

There's a new manager starting soon - what questions should I ask that will:

  1. Get off to a good start and make a good first impression?
  2. Find out their credentials and their approach to management and the role?
  3. Find out their sense of humour?
  • 1
    Hopefully you (the company) determined a lot of (2) during the interview process. If you didn't personally interview them, talk to the people that did. – Philip Kendall Aug 18 '14 at 13:25
  • 2
    In your other social interactions, do you feel a need to explicitly ask someone what their sense of humor is? Normally, you'd just spend some time with someone and figure it out. When dealing with a manager is a workplace setting, assume they have none until you are certain what is and isn't acceptable. – user8365 Aug 18 '14 at 14:10
  • @Jeffo I'm interested in boundaries & finding out ways to find a persons sense of humour, if they have one, etc. I'm not interested in explicitly asking directly what their sense of humour is nor do I do this in other social interactions directly. Having a laugh in work while getting the job done can sometimes be a great team building exercise. I think it's important that managers in particular know when to laugh and make others laugh. – motionpotion Aug 18 '14 at 14:47

I think the best may be simply to sit down to a friendly chat with the new hire. Start off by saying that you would like to get to know each other better, introduce yourself and your responsibilities briefly, and ask them to do the same. Ask some open-ended questions about their past projects; these usually give you clues to her approach to management, but feel free to ask more targeted questions as needed.

Keep in mind that as much as you are curious about them, they are equally curious about you, the new colleagues and environment, their new roles etc. so make sure your discussion is not one-sided.

You don't mention your current position but from your post I assume you are going to be their supervisor. In this case make sure there is someone to help them with their questions and daily problems, and mentor them throughout the first weeks / months - it may be you or someone else - and let them know who that person is. You may also want to walk around the office to introduce them to their new colleagues - this gives plenty of opportunities to chat and get to know each other better.

  • They will be my manager. – motionpotion Aug 18 '14 at 13:28

What can I do to help?

I hesitate to write any more about this. I mean it's not very complicated. New managers are new employees too, and will need some help getting up to speed on where to find the bathrooms, what the processes are, who to avoid pissing off. When your first step is an offer of help, you show that you understand that - but more importantly, that you want to work with them. They'll in turn want to work with you instead of seeing you as an obstacle or dead-weight. It's also a great ice-breaker to open the conversation towards their approach to their job, as well as them learning what you can do to help.

  • Get off to a good start and make a good first impression?

Say hello, be friendly. And keep your powder dry.

  • Find out their credentials and their approach to management and the role?

Your new manager will introduce themselves, so you'll find about their credentials sooner or later.

In the meantime, you could collect some info from those on your team who actually interviewed that manager. You should know at least the manager's name and the last place they worked at. You can use that info to look up their Linkedin and Facebook profiles.

You'll find out about your manager's approach within a week, as they listen to what the team has done and start distributing assignments. Pay attention as to how the management convey their expectations - Do they talk straight, or do they talk elliptically? Do they speak their minds, or do they expect you to read their minds? You could google for any report involving the manager's activities at previous firms.

Let your manager do the talking until you're confident that you can read your manager.

  • Find out their sense of humour?

Let the manager (or somebody else) crack a joke first. My sense of humor has gotten me into hot water more than once, so I am quite alert to the possibility of having my sense of humor being misinterpreted, as in badly misinterpreted.

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