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Adjusting to a New Boss

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Use these tips to help make the transition to new management

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Use these tips to help make the transition to new management

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Career Resources

Career Development

Use these tips to help make the transition to new management

By Kirsten Malenke

If you've ever been asked if you like your job, it's likely that you'll bring up your job duties, your schedule, your co-workers, or your commute. It's also quite likely that your boss will come up in the discussion. Why? Because like it or not, your boss has a significant impact on your overall job performance and satisfaction.

Whether you've been fortunate enough to have a great boss or not, you've probably become acquainted with his or her particular management style. Which is why, if new management is established at your company or if you start a new role, it can take time to adjust to a new boss.

To help you make this transition as smoothly as possible, ADVANCE asked several career experts for their best advice on how to adjust to a new boss. Should you ever find yourself in this situation (and it's quite likely you will), keep these tips in mind. 

Get to know your new boss. First off, you should make an effort to get to know your new boss, whether you've started a new role or new management has entered your company. This may involve simply talking to him or her and asking questions. It might also involve doing some research to get an idea of the manager's past experience and accomplishments. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding out this information.

According to Andy Miller, President and CEO of BrainWorks, an affiliate of Sanford Rose Associates, "Any new employee, if they are smart, ought to be assessing the 'lay of the land,' which means they should be doing a lot of listening, observing, and asking a lot of questions." What is your new boss's management style? How does your new boss communicate? What are his or her goals and objectives, and specifically, what are his or her goals for you? Asking these questions will help you determine a timeline and priorities to meet those objectives. 

Set up a meeting. According to Jon Minners, the Senior Marketing Manager and a career expert at, a career intelligence website, you should set up a meeting with your new boss. "It's important to introduce yourself to a new boss for a variety of reasons," Minners said. "First, it offers you an opportunity to get to know them and learn more about their expectations of you during the transition."

This meeting can also allow you to offer your help. Your new boss may wish to ask you questions or discuss the way the company has approached different job-related matters. "By setting up a meeting that allows you to help each other understand the different nuances of the job going forward, you are professionally developing a relationship that could benefit you in the future," Minners said.

Don't compare. Although you may not particularly like your new boss's management style, it doesn't help to constantly compare him or her to your old boss. "Understand that the old way of doing New Bossthings no longer matters," Minners said. "For whatever reason, you have a new boss and that means a new personality to adapt to."

Even if your new boss shares a similar vision for the company as your previous supervisor, the way he or she plans to reach those goals may be different, and it's up to you to make the adjustment. As Minners put it, "They are the boss; you're just an employee."

What should you never say? "Never utter the phrase, 'That's not how we used to do it.'" Minners advised. "And unless they ask, never say, 'We used to...' The past is the past. And a new boss means that you need to start looking at the present and future. What does the new supervisor want and how can you help him or her achieve it?"

Be patient. Even if you are doing your best to adjust to your new boss, remember that it will take time. Minners advised: Don't take things personally. "The new boss is just as nervous as you were on your first day in the office, but they are expected to lead a team right from their first day," he said.

It's possible that nerves will get the better of your new boss on occasion, and he or she might say something about your work that you will find offensive. In this scenario, Minners recommends letting it slide. "Give them the benefit of the doubt," he said. However, if this happens, you should discuss the situation professionally. "This shows that you are accountable for your work and flexible in being able to adapt to the changes your supervisor requests," Minners said.

So if you find yourself in a situation with a new boss, don't stress. Do your best to be patient and cooperative, and remember that adjusting to a new boss may take some time.

Kirsten Malenke is a staff writer at ADVANCE. Contact:


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