Do These Things When You Get a New Boss

There’s nothing quite as disconcerting as getting a new boss. Even if you hated the old boss, at least you knew all her weird habits and devious tricks and could counteract them before they did much harm.

But a new boss? This means a lot of changes, even if the new-boss says there won’t be changes. The new boss may only like to communicate via email, even if he’s sitting across the table from you. Or, he may not understand that he really shouldn’t talk to you before-you’ve had a cup of coffee — not because you’re crabby but because you literally can’t form full sentences until the caffeine hits your bloodstream.

There are some ways to ensure a smoother transition with a new boss, and also help him understand your value to the organization – and to him. You need to:

  • Step up. 

Be ready to introduce yourself to the new-boss like a real grown-up professional. No slouching behind your computer and hoping he won’t see you. You can send him your LinkedIn profile or even a short email outlining what you’re working on and any areas of development you’re tackling (attending night classes, taking an online certification course). 

  • Eliminate “but” from your answers. 

There’s nothing more frustrating to a new boss that always hearing employees say “but that’s not how we’ve always done it” or “but that won’t work” or something equally negative. Listen with an open mind to his ideas. Try to expand on them and instead of saying “No, but…” try to find times to say, “Yes, and…”

  • Take notes. 

When the new boss is giving directives — from how to ask for time off to who is taking on which project — write it down. New bosses have a lot on their plates, and employees who pay attention the first time will be seen as assets that are part of his plan when moving forward. Don’t risk getting left behind because you’re always asking “What was that again?”

  • Offer help. 

You don’t have to be Billy Brownnoser with the new boss, but be willing to offer resources or information that can make the new boss’s life easier. “I can send you the report I did on that competitor last year. You might-find some helpful information in it or perhaps I can answer some questions,” you offer.

  • Don’t badmouth anyone. 

In the beginning, the new boss is trying-to get the lay of the land — who does good work and who does not. Badmouthing a colleague — or even your former boss — is very unprofessional and will get you labeled a gossip. The boss may find your information helpful, but he will forever see you as a disloyal person — and that means you’ll never be trusted by him. 

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