I have been working at the same company as an administrative assistant for almost six years with the same supervisor. She recently retired, and it was a sad day for me and my colleagues as she was an inspiring, competent leader who knew how to train, motivate and respect her team.
I have recently been assigned a new boss who likes to micromanage and has a tendency to be distant and punitive. I feel like quitting my job that I love, where I am a top performer as well.
How do I handle this new boss?
Signed: New Boss Problem (NBP)
In today’s rapidly changing economy and labour market, it’s no surprise that you have a new manager. This is a common occurrence as companies are being bought-out, changing to meet the new demands and the fast-paced changes in technology. The issue is to learn how to respond appropriately as well as protect yourself and your job at the same time. The worst thing you could do for your career is to wait for this new boss to change or to demonstrate your distrust and dislike of this new employee.
According to Terry Corbell of bizcoachinfo.com, in an article titled Nervous about your New Boss? Here’s How to Deal with it, as well as the JVS Employment Counsellors I consulted, here are some suggestions:
1. Think before speaking.
Aligning yourself with this new boss is very important for your current job and career aspirations. It’s important to remember that it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Don’t speak with finality with an accusing tone, for example: “This is a problem.” Instead, ask a non-threatening question, such as: “Is it possible that the problem is…?” In this way, you’ll help open the door to a team discussion. Fighting and being resentful doesn’t work. Corbell points out that this is a great strategy to becoming a leader in your team and if you want, you might become management material as well. He calls it “managing your boss”.
2. Be flexible and adaptable.
Employees always want the new boss to fit into their former ways of doing their job. You will have to be the one to change, adapt and understand the manager’s ideas and how he or she likes to get the job done. Always be eager and positive when approaching this new person. Keep your resentment and desire to fight in confidence. If you have to, vent with friends outside of the workplace. I would highly recommend keeping positive at work and not complaining to your colleagues. Show support and be open to any changes that happen due to the new manager’s input and style. If you are the one who openly supports this new boss and helps make his or her work and efforts go smoothly, you will develop a trust and start building an important relationship that will only be beneficial to you in the long run.
3. Prove yourself.
Take responsibility for building a loyal and trusting relationship. As with any professional or personal relationships, you will need to prove yourself all over again, from the beginning just as you did with your former boss. No matter how good your past relationship was with your former boss, take the initiative to learn the new boss’ preferences and note if there are any changes that need to be made regarding processes and procedures. This will make you look like an ideal and conscientious employee. If you openly support the boss on the new team and make his or her efforts go smoothly, you could create an important alliance with the person who is now in charge of your raises and performance reviews.
4. It’s your role to be positive.
Be as welcoming as possible. Avoid negativity, or complaining or office gossip. Be empathic. It is not an easy transition for a new boss who has been hired internally or from external sources. Remember, he or she has to contend with a new team of employees, a new company or department culture and new processes and procedures. Be sure to speak positively and openly about your new boss. If you make the new boss feel welcome and offer support, I am sure this individual will never forget this and, again as stated above, you will most likely contribute to creating an important alliance with him or her.
5. Beware of giving advice.
As you welcome your new boss with open arms, and are positive and initiate help and support, there is a tendency to offer advice about how “things are done around here”. Do not give advice, or opinions unless you are asked by the new boss. If he or she does ask you for advice, it could be a good sign that the new boss is starting to trust you. Be careful to respond with just the facts. Avoid comments like “my former boss did it this way”. Gaining the confidence of a new boss is crucial for your career development and aspirations, professional and educational development, as well as helping you to work in a safe, and meaningful working environment.