How to Adjust to a New Manager

It’s nerve-wracking to get a new boss. You may have signed up for your job assuming you’d be working for the previous manager … but at some point she may leave and a new boss will come in. How do you adjust to a new manager with a different style? These five tips will help.

1. Ask to meet with her and give information that will help acquaint her with you and your work

Give some brief background information about yourself, your role, your goals for this year, and your progress toward making those goals. Talk about any deadlines that are coming up, obstacles you see on the horizon, and opportunities that you have your eye on. And ask what other information you can give that will help give her the lay of the land.

2. Ask what kind of communication systems she prefers

You can start by describing the systems you used with your previous manager, and ask if she’d like to continue those systems or set up new ones. Does she prefer email or talking in person? Does she want to meet weekly or talk more ad hoc over the next few months?

3. Give her the benefit of the doubt

A new manager is probably going to do some things differently from your old manager. This may even be, at least in part, why she was hired. It’s very tempting to think that the right way to do things is the way they’ve always been done – but resist that temptation. She may have better ways of doing things. Don’t rush to judgment. Give some time to let the changes shake out.

4. Ask how you can help

Maybe she could really use an overview of your accounts, or the inside scoop on how to deal with Jim in Accounting, or some help with the software your department uses. Let her know you’d be glad to help with anything she needs as she’s getting acclimated.

5. Remember that it takes a while to adjust

Put yourself in her shoes, and remember that learning a new job can be overwhelming. She may want frequent updates from you in the beginning, or have more detailed questions that you’re used to answering. Don’t bristle at this or take it personally; assume that she’s getting to know the job and the team’s work, and it’ll decrease in time.

 

Alison Green

Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the co-author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development.

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