Employee introducing themselves to new boss
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How to deal with a new boss

18 Apr 2017

What do you do when you’re in the same job, but you’re about to get a new boss?

If you’ve ever started a new job, you know how terrifying it can be. There are new systems to learn, new colleagues to get to know and new office politics to get your head around.

Now, imagine how difficult that can be for someone coming in at senior level. They have to contend with a lot of the same stuff, as well as taking a leadership role over a group of people they’ve never worked with before.

Employees who are facing working with a new boss can feel uneasy about the situation, too. They’ve been used to how things have been done thus far; they’ve come to know how their boss likes things done and how to impress them. Now, all of that is about to be upheaved.

So, what can you do when faced with a new boss? There are a few steps you can take to make the transition smooth for both you and them, hopefully creating a good relationship from the very beginning.

Schedule a meeting

The new manager may be anxious to do this, and it’s a good idea to properly introduce yourself so that you can get to know each other better.

Meeting your new boss one-to-one will help you both feel at ease, and it can initiate a conversation about your role and your enthusiasm. Avoid using the meeting as an opportunity to make it all about yourself – show that you’re a team player.

Learn their preferences

You may have known how your old boss liked to work, but now you need to know how the new one works. Find out the kind of communication method they prefer, how often they like to get updates and what they want to be kept in the loop about.

This is a good opportunity to talk to your new boss about what other preferences are. Don’t go into the conversation by saying: ‘Well, this is how we do things here’. Seek ways in which you can marry what you’re used to with what they like best for a compromise.

Clarify their expectations

Chances are, your new boss has extensive experience for the job. That means that they might have a different vision or idea for how things can be done, which could mean a change of expectations from you.

During your initial meetings with them, clarify what these expectations might be and talk through a plan to meet these expectations. Without being negative, you might have knowledge about why certain things are done a certain way, which could factor into the manager’s decisions.

Be prepared for change

Change is probably unavoidable when you have a new boss. One of the best things to do in this scenario is to simply be prepared for these changes.

If you’ve clarified what is expected of you and figured out your new boss’s vision for the team, you’ll be doing yourself a great service. Looking at the change as a positive opportunity rather than a negative one will help you.

Be an ally 

Getting a new boss can be difficult, especially if you got on really well with your former one. You might be wary of trusting someone new, which will definitely get your relationship off to a bad start.

Avoid blatantly sucking up to your new manager. They can sniff that out a mile away and it will come across disingenuous. However, don’t create an unnecessary barrier between you and them. They are just another person in a different job and together, you should be working towards the same goal. Be friendly and welcoming to create a positive atmosphere for everyone to work in.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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