How to Deal With a New Boss and Navigate Changing Leadership

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Nichole Odijk DeMario26
June 19, 2024 at 10:16AM UTC
A new boss brings about feelings like the first day of school. You know the feeling — that nervous excitement in the pit of your stomach that comes with the chance to start anew.
One of my biggest learning experiences with a new boss came twice with the same position. For the first few years on the job, I worked with a wonderfully, talented individual with decades of experience. Her wherewithal and history was a wealth of knowledge, but I was met with some resistance to my new ideas. I knew I had to bridge our generational divide and the fact that we were both strong women with strong views. It took time to develop trust, converse and know when to meet each other halfway.
When she retired, a new person came in. He was energetic, hopeful and eager to make an impact. I had to remind myself when I was the new kid on the block with very similar enthusiasm. I worked diligently to develop this new relationship, making time to share my ideas and be open to his. I’m not a naturally patient person, but I gave it the necessary time and attention it deserved so I could continue to prove my worth as an employee.
In my consulting role, I have new “bosses” all the time. Each time I bring on a new client, there’s someone new with and for whom to learn how to work. Each individual and company come with their own nuances. My job is to establish all of the above and ensure that they know we're a team striving for the same goals.
These three tips will help you put your best foot forward, too.

1. Get to know them.

Whether you’re new on the job or he/she is, you need to establish your relationship. See if they have time for coffee or lunch, and get to know them as a person. What led them to this job? This company? What are they passionate about? It can be extremely helpful to know what makes someone tick.

2. Fill them in and set expectations.

On the job, it never hurts to request a brainstorming session or a review of what you’re currently working on. You’ll get the opportunity to establish who you are as an employee and showcase your proactiveness. If it’s not offered up or part of your company policies or procedures already, feel free to ask how they like to communicate, receive updates, etc. Expectations can be set and met from the onset.

3. Keep an open mind.

You may not hit the ground running straight out of the gates. There may be some bumps along the way. Being open to change and adaptation can make all the difference.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking at it from the aspect of how to “deal” or “cope” with a new boss, you’re missing the point. There’s beauty in this new relationship given the right frame of mind.
However, if things do go awry, and no matter how hard you try you just don’t seem to gel, it’s time to reevaluate. Do you need to bring in another supervisor to discuss things through? Do you need to clear the air? Is a transfer possible? Are you complacent and in need of a new job yourself? Sometimes things don’t work out and that’s okay, too.
Moral of the story — put in your best effort and showcase your best self. You will be better for it in the long run.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for navigating work life with a new boss? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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