Career Development – Dealing With a New Boss

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Career Development – Dealing With a New Boss

So there you are, happy in your job and doing quite well. You get on well with your boss and he/she thinks well of you and advocates for you with top management.  You couldn’t ask for much more really.

Then one day you get the news.  Your boss is moving on to set up a new division on the other side of the world in two week’s time.

You feel devastated and you start worry.  What will the new boss be like and who will it be?  The rumors start and they are never very positive are they? “That tough manager from finance is coming” or “They are going to take the opportunity to make cuts.” 

Stay Neutral But Prepare

You know the rumors are just that – this is nature filling a vacuum.

Stay calm but keep your wits about you till you have some real news.  If you can help your present boss to tie up the loose ends before departure do so – it will make life easier later.  See what you can find out about a possible successor and when you have a name, do your research.

Find out as much as possible about them but stay in a neutral space. Don’t add to the rumor mill and don’t assume that reputations are always justified – give your new boss a chance. But accept that this will be a time of change – let the past go with gratitude, rather than regrets. 

Give the new boss some space 

When the new boss arrives, give them time and space to settle in.  Don’t rush to be the first to make a good impression – there will be lots of people doing that.  But be courteous and welcoming – be optimistic.  Do your job as well as you can. 

Help when it is needed

 Show you are willing to help and support when it is needed.  Make it clear you are happy to share your knowledge of the organization and to make introductions. But accept that your new boss will have their own way of doing things and too much “this is how we do things here” from you, will really irritate.

Be authentic – don’t pretend to know more than you do or be more than you are!

 Be yourself with the new boss and don’t pretend to know more than you do.  If the boss asks a question you can’t answer, then offer to go and find out – don’t bluff, if they are any good they will see straight through it. Above all, don’t pretend to be someone in the organization that you are not – pretending to be on first name terms with the CEO can rebound on you. 

Take the opportunity to rebuild your professional image 

Most new bosses will have made enquiries about key people in their new team.  But this is still to some extent a chance to make a fresh start.  As you get to know your new boss, take the opportunity to make a new and positive impression.  Show how good you are and, when the new boss is settled in, make sure they know how interested you are in your own career.

What about new bosses who want to bring in new teams?

It is a fact of life that some new bosses prefer to bring in new teams. In your research before the new boss arrives, you may be able to find out if this is what they have done in the past.  If so, be prepared!

Do all the things, I’ve suggested above and give your new boss an opportunity to see how valuable and how flexible you are.  Show them that you can adapt to the new situation. But at the same time brush up your CV and keep an eye open for other possibilities.  Make sure you line-up your old boss up to give you a glowing reference.

If your new boss does want to make a complete change but sees how valuable you are, you might at the very least get their support in finding something new. You might be surprised by a request that you stay!

Accept life as it is now and make the best of it!

Accept that change is happening.  Things cannot stay the same, so accept the change with grace.  You will be sorry to see your boss go.  But the future is full of new possibilities.  Do your best to make the most of the opportunity.

If you have tips for dealing with new bosses, please share them here.

If you need the support of a coach in dealing with your change, please get in touch.  My email address is below.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have theconfidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason