Here are six questions to ask to get the foundation of the relationship between you and your manager set up correctly during your first week, and to help cut through some of the confusing fog of the early days on a job:
1. What are the most important things for me to accomplish in the coming weeks?
2. What would a successful first six months look like for me in this role?
3. What recent history of the department or upcoming plans should I be aware of?
4. How do you prefer to communicate? Do you prefer E-mail or talking in person? Do you like to talk about things as they come up, or do you prefer that I save things up for a weekly meeting?
5. What types of things do you prefer to be consulted on? Given final approval on? What kinds of things do you prefer that I handle on my own?
6. Are there any pitfalls that you've seen people fall into when they're learning this job? Anything I should be especially aware of?
Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development. She now teaches other managers how to manage for results.