Current Size: 100%

When You Get a New Boss...

Getting a new boss can be extremely stressful.  Suddenly the rules are different and you can't rely on the relationship that you have spent so much time developing.  Essentially, you are starting from scratch.  You have to prove yourself all over again and you need to figure out what this new person wants from you.  While this may make you feel uncomfortable, you and your new boss both have the shared goal of the team's success.  If you handle the situation effectively, you could actually end up in a better situation than you were in before.  Here are a few tips to help you manage this transition:

Show them Your "A-Game".  Since you don't have credibility with this manager yet, you need to show them your best work.  While they are making up their mind about you, it is important that you behave professionally and perform well.  It is essential that you make a positive impression; this is not the time to show up late or to cut corners. 

Be helpful.   Since your boss is new in their role, they may have a lot of questions about how things work.  Be a resource and let them know that they can rely on you for support.      

Ask them about their expectations.  Everybody works a little differently and something that your old supervisor appreciated about you may not fly with your new one.  It is important to quickly understand their expectations and their communication style.  The easiest way to figure this out is to ask them.  Set up a meeting to find out about their priorities for the department and their expectations of you.  Ask  for feedback on a regular basis and if something seems to annoy them, make a note of it.  Taking the time to understand their expectations, will help you perform better in your job. 

Be flexible.  When you are getting a new boss, the one thing that you can count on is that there will be changes.  It could be a change in goals or a change of reporting structure.  Be accepting of the changes and try to be positive about it.  If you are willing to make changes to the way that you work while maintaining a positive attitude, your new boss will appreciate the support.   

Be trustworthy.  New supervisors need to know that they can trust their team.  Don't say anything negative behind your manager's back and don't tell your coworkers about things that are happening in your department.  If your new boss perceives you as loyal, you will develop a much stronger relationship with them. 

Most people are so uncomfortable with change that they miss the opportunities that exist within it.  Pay attention to the priorities that your new supervisor has set and see if you might be able to develop new skills or get experience in a different area.  Transitions often allow you to make changes in your work that could help you progress in your career.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image by