Adapting to a New Boss

Part of adapting to a new boss is making a good impression. Coming in a little early and working the extra mile will get you noticed and could go a long way toward helping you and your new boss hit it off [source: Hunsinge].

Even with that, odds are you're going to have to be willing to try things a new way [source: Half]. Your new manager came into this position with ideas of how the department should be run. At least at first, expect to follow your new leader. Remember that your co-workers are likely to be doing the same thing you are, and a smart manager will let everything sink in before taking your advice completely to heart [source: Willis].

Adaptation is one of humanity's greatest traits. Switching from e-mails to phone calls for communication ranks low on the difficulty scale. But if your previous boss was a hands-off type who let you get your job done your way, and your new one is a micromanager who insists everything must be done his or her way, that gets a little more difficult. Micromanaging is a serious issue, resulting from either a lack of trust or a need for control. If you think it's a lack of trust, try to earn that trust by showing how good your work is. If it's a control situation, it's likely that person is insecure and not capable of any fundamental change. In that case, you should either seek a transfer within your organization or find a different employer.

If you find yourself reporting to a former co-worker (even a friend), know that your old relationship will necessarily change. Reporting to friends can be just as tricky as managing them, so learn the boundaries between your personal relationship and the organization's needs, recognizing that your friend now has responsibility for your performance, as well.

Sometimes, managers are hired or promoted because they impressed someone in a position of power. But what if it's painfully obvious they're in way over their heads? Don't take action right away, but if you believe this will be a problem, start documenting instances where their lack of qualifications is costing the company. Only when you have documentation substantiating your claim should you bring it to management.

In most cases, dealing with new bosses presents more promise than anguish. If they're reasonable and you're willing to adapt to the new situation, there's no reason the new department culture can't do as well as, or better than, the previous one.