How do you handle a new boss? You may be feeling anxious, and have every right to be. You have to deal with a new personality, possibly have to prove yourself all over again, and many times a new boss can signal a shift in goals or systems—especially if he or she was brought in precisely to make important changes.
Here are some important things to remember as you adjust to your new boss.
Make a mindshift
You may feel bad about the change, especially if you liked your old boss or at least the old way of doing things. But stop comparing and thinking, ‘John didn’t do it that way!’—because it’s futile, and also counterproductive. Whether or not you agree with your new boss, embrace the challenge of getting to know his workstyle, personality, priorities, etc. Instead of grumbling about the differences, learn from them and look for ways to bridge the gap. For example, if you find out that your new boss has a bad temper, then be proactive. Tell him: ‘If you want me to do something differently, or feel that something needs my attention, call me right away.’
Expect an adjustment period
First impressions are usually wrong. Remember your new boss is adjusting to things too, and his faux pas and fumbles could be done out of ignorance rather than meanness. Be open to his ideas, but also explain yours. (Read our article on openness and other spiritual principles that can transform work relationships.) A lot of the miscommunication comes from a difference in expectations. Sit down with your boss and ask what he needs from you, and what you need from him. For example, talk about working hours and particular preferences for the way reports are made.
Set regular meetings
Part of getting to know a new boss is to meet regularly—to evaluate your work, and to get his feedback and whether or not this is the way he wants things done. Eventually you will be able to ‘read’ him as well as you did your old boss, and he in turn will see how you work, and learn to trust you. These meetings are not just about tasks and deadlines but work style. ‘Is this working for you? Or do we need to change this?’ You also need to ask how he prefers to have the meetings. Is he happier with short daily updates or longer, weekly huddles? (Read our tips on avoiding miscommunication.)
Don’t babysit the boss
You’ve been at the office longer than he has and knows the way things work. Perhaps you can say, ‘If you need me to explain processes and procedures, just let me know ‘ but wait for his request before actually doing it. Your boss may want to change the way things are done; and even if you do explain things to him, you need to ask, ‘How would you like do it?’
Photo from digit-8.com