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Getting a New Boss? Here’s What You Need to Know

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“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus. Gracefully adapting to change is a critical skill for a successful career. However, few changes are more significant than getting a new boss. So how do you successfully navigate the arrival of a new boss or supervisor? Working with a new boss can be an opportunity or a threat to your career growth. This blog post will explain the common blind spots when a new boss is hired above you, why your first impression with a new manager is critical, and tips to help you keep your sanity when you suddenly find you have a new supervisor.

5 Common Blind Spots to Be Aware of When a New Boss Is Hired Above You

When you’ve been at your company or in your role for some time and suddenly find you have a new boss, there are things you need to consider to have a successful transition.

1) Your reputation

The first blind spot to consider when getting a new manager is your reputation. Unfortunately, you won’t always have an accurate picture of your reputation. What your new boss hears about you creates a filter for how they see you.

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2) Your performance

The second blind spot to consider when getting a new boss is your performance. Data doesn’t lie. Your new supervisor will have already reviewed your KPIs, goal attainments, and previous performance reviews.

3) Your perceived weaknesses

The third blind spot to consider when getting a new manager is your perceived weaknesses. In your new boss’s early days, they will hold meetings with many people around the organization. They will solicit feedback on you and their new team overall. Your new boss will use that feedback to develop an improvement plan.

4) A new boss wants to make a big impact, quickly

The fourth blind spot to consider when getting a new supervisor is their desire to prove themselves. You are getting a new boss for a reason. Maybe it is to improve performance, upskill the team, or clean house. No matter the reason, your new boss needs to prove themselves. As a result, they will move fast and change things.

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5) Your new boss will have their own style

Their management style is the fifth blind spot to consider when a new boss gets hired above you. They will have their quirks, their non-negotiables, and a particular way of communicating. For example, your new supervisor might have a high sense of urgency or a lackadaisical approach to management. Whatever their style, it is likely to be different than your former supervisor.

Having awareness of the common blindspots when you get a new boss helps you navigate the adjustment period. Your relationship with your manager is the ultimate factor in your job satisfaction especially when a new boss gets hired above you. So you need to navigate the early days of your relationship carefully.

Why the first impression with a new boss is critical.

First impressions are critical in any relationship, but especially with a new boss. They will observe you in meetings, in communication, and in the delivery of your objectives. If they are a good manager, they will weigh their observations against any feedback they receive about you. A new supervisor will validate your weaknesses and your effort.

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It is critical to put your best foot forward during the early days of getting to know your new boss. However, don’t allow your tenure to create complacency. You don’t want to validate any negative information other employees told them about you.

Having a new boss hired above you means they want to prove themselves. As a result, they will want to move fast, and you need to adjust to their pace. In addition, they want to make a good impression on the organization. Your new boss will likely view the team as a reflection of themself. So, show up on time, prepared, and demonstrate your commitment to the job.

A common mistake people make when getting a new boss is to think they don’t need to prove themselves. However, if you want to successfully navigate a new manager’s arrival, that is exactly what you need to do.

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Tips for Successfully Navigating Getting a New Supervisor

The early days of working with a new manager hired above you are critical to your success. These tips help you have a successful start so do you don’t spend time trying to repair a damaged relationship.

Increase your level of professionalism

The longer you’ve been in your role or at your company, the more likely you are to be complacent. After all, you are in a comfort zone, and that will affect your work habits. You might show up to meetings a few minutes late. Perhaps you have a relaxed dress code or use informal language. Keep in mind your new boss doesn’t know anything other than what people have told them and what they observe. Make sure what they are observing is your best professional self.

Don’t compare your new boss to your previous one

If you compare your new supervisor to your last one, you will be unhappy. Perhaps your old boss didn’t hold you accountable, or you had a deep relationship with them. On the other hand, maybe your old boss was challenging to work with, and you expect the same from your new supervisor. Don’t bring the previous baggage created by your former supervisor to your relationship with your new one. In addition, don’t put your previous manager on a pedestal either.

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Agenda items for your first meeting with your new supervisor

Any good manager will make sure to meet with their direct reports early on after joining. Don’t wait for them to schedule your first meeting. Put time on their calendar and come to the meeting prepared to discuss the following topics.

  1. Get to know them. Come up with 3-5 questions that help you understand who they are and why they joined the company.
  2. Get to know their style. How do they like to manage? How do they like to communicate? What are their 30, 60, 90-day priorities?
  3. How do you like to be managed? Outline your expectations of them as a manager and how to work best with you.
  4. What you are currently working on, including your goals. Provide any successes or challenges they can help you overcome.
  5. What are their expectations? Get clarity on what they expect from you as an employee.

Stay clear from office politics

Part of making a good impression is to speak with a positive and future-oriented tone. It is best to avoid talking negatively about other employees or teams. Even more, avoid bringing up past interpersonal conflicts unless your previous manager left them unresolved.

Use compliments and flattery sparingly

You don’t want the new manager to think you are trying to win them over with flattery. Balance your kindness with your professional commitment and focus on work-related conversations.

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Offer your help

Find opportunities to offer your new supervisor help. Managers appreciate proactive and cooperative employees. Demonstrate your helpfulness by providing updates and reports on what is going on within the business. Show them where to go to access the information they need to know.

Observe your new boss

The best way to learn someone is by observing them. Pay attention to your new manager’s arrival time and how they start their day. Do they readily offer you feedback, or will you have to ask for it? Are they sending emails late at night or on weekends? By observing your new supervisor, you will learn their quirks and preferences to work better with them.

Have an openness to change

Your new supervisor will not be like your previous boss. They will set out to change things. Keep an open mind to the changes your new boss brings forward and stay objective when evaluating their effectiveness.

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Practice patience

There is often a lengthy transition period when you get a new boss. The early days of a new manager will make your work feel more demanding. You may feel the need to come early and stay late to make a good impression. You will feel more pressure to deliver flawless presentations and avoid mistakes. Know that the transition period won’t last forever, and soon you will return to normalcy. Practicing patience helps you manage the stress of having a new manager hired above you.

Getting a new boss hired above you can feel like starting a new job. You start from zero, forming a new relationship, learning their style and expectations, and proving yourself all over again. All the extra hours worked and saving the day solutions are unknown to your new boss.

Let go of what was because your new boss will have their own communication style, expectations, and work habits. Having a new boss hired above you can be an excellent opportunity for your growth and development. Or it can be a threat. How you navigate the early days of a new boss will determine how successful your new relationship can be.

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What new boss stories do you have? Share them in the comments below.

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Jason Cortel is currently the Director of Global Workforce Management for a leading technology company. He has been in customer service, marketing, and sales services for over 20 years. In addition, he has extensive experience in offshore and nearshore outsourcing. Jason is an avid Star Trek fan and is on a mission to change the universe by helping people develop professionally. He is driven to help managers and leaders lead their teams better. Jason is also a veteran in creating talent and office cultures.

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