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5 Strategies for Success in Working with a New Boss

Just when we’ve got the old boss trained…you get the picture. We all know it’s a pain to get a new boss or supervisor. A number of serious questions will inevitably arise.  The thoughts and questions which arise may lead to concern, even to the point of anxiety. Will my new boss like me? How will he know how much I’ve accomplished before he got here? Am I going to have to prove myself all over again?

 In these times of mobility, downsizing and right-sizing, transition in managerial and supervisory positions is frequent. It’s possible that you might have two, even three new bosses over the course of a couple of years. This revolving door can be tiring and frustrating.

There are some simple things that you can do to minimize the frustration and make life at work a little easier. And it all has to do with communication.


What are their priorities?

In coming into a new position, a supervisor or manager is going to have some initial objectives that are important to her. What are they? Set some time aside to ask about her priorities. During your exploration, also take notice of how she communicates. Is she a big picture person or a detail person? Will she have an open-door, or do you need to send a memo or e-mail?


How open are they?

First, how open are you? Many times your openness will actually facilitate more openness and transparency from the new supervisor. If he feels at ease with you and you are at ease with him,, the more fluid the conversation will be. Put yourself in your supervisor’s shoes. Notice that he’s just as nervous as you. Creating openness puts him at ease and facilitates more honest and open communication. 

Communicate your needs.

Once you establish a relationship of openness and learn about her priorities, communicate your own needs. Present your work style and ask how that meshes with the expectations of your manager. To what do you respond best? Discuss this with her. With an idea toward establishing mutual expectations, be very clear about the kind of support you would like…the kind of support that helps you do your best work.


Can you ease their transition?

This isn’t about being a “teacher’s pet”.  It’s about creating an environment for teamwork. Your new supervisor wants to succeed just as much as you do. And if you demonstrate leadership by helping the new supervisor move more easily into his position, you will establish yourself as someone he can rely upon.  

Work smarter.

Don’t guess or make assumptions about the expectations of your new supervisor. Working smarter means asking questions like: What specific information are you looking for in relation to XYZ? What can I share about this project? What would you like to see from me on this? Again, this is about creating expectations and setting a foundation for good communication. The more you ask, the more you’ll learn. And the more you learn, the better off you’ll be in working with your new boss.


So, rather than see your new boss as a pain, see the situation as an opportunity. Like so many other challenges, your attitude determines your path. There’s probably a lot you can learn from your new supervisor. Conversely, you have a lot to offer as well. By being open to learning and being of assistance to your new boss, you may also be opening yourself to far more success and satisfaction.


Top Performers
November 19, 2009, 3:01 PM
Filed under: Strategic Questions

So often we put most of our time and energy into what is not working, better yet, WHO is not working. We tend to focus our resources (time, energy & money) on people that are not performing well and let the top performers be on their own. This is not to say that the low performers don’t need our attention, but don’t forget about the top performers.  You may be missing opportunities.

What do they need to perform at a higher level or can they help you with your medium to low performers? Bottom-line…how can you leverage them?

Stop, Start and Continue
November 18, 2009, 2:25 PM
Filed under: Strategic Questions

In order to achieve any goal or objective, ask yourself the following:

What do I need to STOP doing?

What do I need to START doing?

What is working? What should I CONTINUE to do?