Getting a New Boss Offers Challenges and Opportunities

How to Make the Change Work for You

Getting a New Boss Offers Challenges and Opportunities

Getting a New Boss Offers Challenges and Opportunities

By Denene Brox, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Getting a new boss is something we all face at one time or another in our careers. Whether you are starting a new job or your department is going through staffing changes at your current job, getting a new manager can present new challenges as well as new opportunities for your career.

Learning how to navigate this new relationship and thrive under new leadership is a job skill everyone needs to learn. Here's how.

Take the Initiative to Get to Know Your New Boss

To get off on the right foot with a new boss, the most important thing you can do is learn his expectations for your position and his communication style. Don't wait for your boss to initiate a meeting; take the lead and schedule some time to get to know your new manager.

"It's really up to the person getting a new boss to schedule a meeting and have questions prepared," says Jean Kelley, president and founder of Jean Kelley Leadership Consulting. "Some questions you might ask include: How are you going to measure my success? What do you value in an employee? What is the biggest challenge in your area in the next six months? How do you perceive me helping you be successful? Also be sure to ask practical questions, like what phone calls are really important to get through to them."

It's also important to learn your new manager's communication style. It may be very different from your previous boss's. "Whereas your former boss might informally pick up the phone and ask a question, the new boss may be more formal and send a terse email," says Jay Block, author of 101 Best Ways to Land a Job in Troubled Times. "Learn that communication style and be able to adapt."

Expect and Accept Changes

Getting a new manager is often only the beginning of changes to come. Depending on your boss's personality and goals, he may make structural changes to the staff, meetings and the overall goals of your department.

"If you have a boss who comes in and wants to make lots of changes to projects you've been working on, you have to manage yourself through those changes," says Beth Banks Cohn, author of Taking the Leap: Managing Your Career in Turbulent Times ... and Beyond. "They're not doing it because you weren't doing a good job; they're doing it because they want to make changes that they think will move the organization forward. Don't take it personally, and learn to manage your emotions around that."

Take Advantage of a Clean Slate

A new boss can be a great time to start fresh, especially if he is from outside the organization or you're starting a new job with a new company. "Getting a new boss is a clean slate," says Kelley. "It's a brand new opportunity at rebranding yourself. Maybe you didn't get along with your last boss, and this is an opportunity to really make a contribution."

There are a lot of positives about getting a new boss, says Banks Cohn. "It can serve to be a catalyst for you to move forward in ways that you never expected," she says. "One of the things about having a boss for a long time is that you get very comfortable. But having a new boss can create new opportunities for you. It could mean working on something different. It's full of opportunity, but you have to look at it that way."

Articles in This Feature: