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Dealing with a New Boss

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 17 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Dealing With A New Boss

Welcoming a new boss can prove an unsettling experience, but it also offers an opportunity to start afresh and boost your career with some positive changes.

How to Handle a New Boss

Many may see a new boss stepping in charge as a major irritation – ‘who does this person think they are, wanting to change our tried and trusted methods and impose their own big ideas?’ But such an attitude goes against the nature of working life, which is a constant stream of changes from the technology you use, the work you do to the people alongside and beneath. To save your career from stagnation and allow it to develop you have to roll with change and use it to your advantage.

So whereas the more obstinate members of the team might see a new boss as a frustrating inconvenience, others will see it as a great opportunity to start afresh or give their career a new lease of life.

Therefore, when they begin their new job, you should handle it like it’s your first day too. A good boss will want to make their mark by introducing new ideas, standards and responsibilities. They may even review personal habits such as working hours, break times and personal phone calls. It’s important to see how this might all combine to form a positive step forward as part of a new phase in your career and not to blindly and stubbornly cling on how things used to be.

Although you should keep an open mind to the changes they impose, it’s important not to forget that they are new they don’t know everything. Therefore, don’t be afraid of telling them if some of their demands or changes are unrealistic, unreasonable or just plain wrong.

Overeager Communication

Your new boss may be the ticket to a more fulfilling future at work but there’s no need to be ‘overeager’ in welcoming them to the fold. Being the first off the mark will likely only serve to showcase your skills as a sycophant rather than a dedicated and proactive member of the team. You should be courteous and introduce yourself, and be on hand to offer a guiding hand but always maintain a respectful distance, allowing them ease themselves into the new role in their own manner.

Making a Good Impression

The best way to make a good impression on a new boss is not by pandering or boasting about your fine past work, but to knuckle down and demonstrate you’re a no-nonsense hard worker who isn’t going to waste their time. Remember keeping an open mind doesn’t mean sucking up to the new hire, but adopting a neutral stance – entertaining their new ideas and not sucking them up regardless.

Your boss will normally require a few weeks to get used to their new environment. It is around this point that they will start to put their plan of action into motion and this is the time you should highlight your availability and willingness to get involved in their new game plan. This doesn’t necessarily mean volunteering for the most challenging and responsible job; you actually may better earn their respect – and that of your colleagues - by offering to take on the more unpopular tasks. It’s important to be patient and build up their trust and faith in you by demonstrating your reliability, as well as your honesty in acknowledging your weaknesses.

Career Review and Reform

Clearing your desk and the cobwebs from your brain that accompanies a new boss appointment and your ‘new first day’ will provide a perfect opportunity for a career reappraisal and reform – a chance to review your working life so far and plan where you want to take it next. Discussing this issue with your new boss will provide a good occasion to establish an open and meaningful working relationship and communication. It might also be a good time to aid your internal development by suggesting courses or secondments etc.

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