How You Can Prepare for a New Boss
I was working in my office recently when I heard the familiar voice of my current boss, who I knew was leaving within days. I went outside my office to say hello to him since I had not seen him in a while. COVID-19 limits the number of people that can work in an office at one time. In my office, we have people working at home and in the office. To my surprise, I met my new boss. We both had masks on, so it was interesting to speak in muffled tones.
I have learned to read eyes and facial expressions. The conversation was brief, but I so appreciated my current boss providing some background to the new boss about me. I have worked for many bosses over the years. You know what you are thinking when you meet the new boss. You wonder what he or she is thinking about you.
An article by Monster.com points out that getting a new boss can present new challenges and opportunities for your career. You need to learn your boss’ expectations and communication style. Take the lead and seek a meeting with him or her when the new boss arrives. Getting a new boss is a time to start fresh. It is a brand-new opportunity at rebranding yourself.
If you can obtain a meeting with your new supervisor, have questions prepared. Make sure the questions are practical in nature. Understand that over time, changes will take place in the workplace. With knowledge of the needs and expectations of your boss, you will be better prepared for what lies ahead.
Lifehacker indicates that your relationship with your boss is a two-way street. You should make the first move with your new boss, so you can find out early how things will occur going forward. You are going to have to accept that change will be part of your new life. There will be growing pains and stress. Do not let yourself be caught off guard.
Schedule an informal meeting over lunch or coffee just to get to know each other. If you can take notes, put everything in writing, so there is no confusion. The goal is to be on the same page, not score points. If you want to keep your job, you will need to learn to adapt. Remember that you have a new boss, but they have a new job to master. Work with them to establish priorities.
- Have a meeting with them just to talk.
- Set expectations and clarify what your new boss wants from you and how you go about delivering it.
- Schedule a follow-up meeting to see how things are going.
- Observe the boss’ working habits and blend in.
- Ask questions to see what the boss prefers.
- Lend a hand and help the supervisor adjust to the new workplace.
- Be willing to change for the success of the relationship.
A Muse article on getting a new boss emphasizes that now is the time to take advantage of the opportunity of change. Put your best foot forward, but avoid taking it too far. Pitch fresh ideas to solve old problems. Offer to help by sharing institutional ideas. Be flexible and adaptable to what is coming and be a professional.
A Harvard Business School article on how to succeed with your new boss points out that your relationship with your new boss will be built over time through a series of conversations. Define your goals by clarifying mutual expectations early, securing commitments for the resources you need, aim for early wins in areas important to the boss and aim for good marks from those whose opinions your boss respects. You need to determine how you will work with your boss over time.
In practice, these conversations are interwoven and take place over time.
How to prepare for a new boss? There is a great deal to think about in your new situation. My suggestion is to be proactive and not reactive. Be professional and consistent. Do your job to the best of your ability and achieve results. Represent the organization well and maintain your reputation. Work to build a long-term successful relationship with your boss. Do a private and personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threats) analysis on your boss. Have empathy for a boss learning curve for the organization. Understand that building a new relationship with your boss will take time. Seek to be one step ahead of your supervisor, and anticipate what they will request of you. Take the extra time to research and prepare. You will be glad you did!
F. Duke Haddad, EdD, CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC, and freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 13 years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration, master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University in business administration, with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.