From time to time in your career you’ll confront the challenge of adjusting to a new boss. In many cases, this will be a situation you did not seek. Suddenly, you find yourself forced into a new relationship in which the other person (your new boss) has considerably more power than you do. Here are some tips for adjusting to a new boss.
- Don’t prejudge. Give this person a fair chance. That’s what you want, right? You don’t want your boss to prejudge you, so why should you prejudge her? Ignore whatever you might have heard and base your thinking on your own direct experience with her.
- Get to know each other. Spend some time getting to know each other. An excellent way to get started is to use the Focus On You ® activity. You can download this activity here.
- Listen, listen and listen. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.
- Be positive. This should go without saying, but sadly it does not. Demonstrate optimism about the future. Don’t focus on what’s wrong.
- Avoid gossip. Don’t say negative things about others.
- Be supportive. Make it clear that you are committed to helping your new boss be successful. She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. You can help her avoid stepping on land mines, and you can share your inside knowledge to help her succeed.
- Make you boss’s priorities your own. Find out what your boss’ expectations are, what her goals are and what she wants to focus on. Get on board with those priorities.
Thanks for reading. I’m sure you have additional tips to adjust to a new boss. I’d love to hear them.
Larry Sternberg is the co-author of Managing to Make a Difference (Wiley), a handbook for hitting the sweet spot of middle management. He also serves as the Talent Plus Fellow, performing duties as an oft-requested speaker and consultant.