What To Do When You Get A New Boss

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

Depending on what your professional relationship was like with your previous boss, getting a new boss can be a welcome change or one that brings a lot of anxiety. Much of our success and happiness in the workplace can depend on the person we are reporting to. Starting out on the right foot with a new boss is important.

Give A Genuine Welcome

On your supervisor’s first day, be sure to introduce yourself as soon as possible. Make sure your boss knows who you are, what your title is, where your office/space is located and how to get in touch with you.

Tell your boss how glad you are to have them onboard and how excited you are to begin working with them.

If you are part of a larger team, consider getting together to provide a welcome gift if the company doesn’t already. Make sure your boss knows their presence is welcome.

Don’t overwhelm your boss

On your bosses’ first day, they will likely be wrapped up with HR onboarding, orientations, trainings or meetings. It may not be possible to introduce yourself on their first day in the office.

If that is the case, send a short introductory email and let your boss know how to reach you. Let your boss decide when they are ready to meet the individual team members.

Schedule A Jump Off Meeting

The moment you begin working under a new boss or supervisor, it is important to start creating healthy communication and dialogue.

Once your new boss is settled in enough, request a meeting to discuss how your role has operated within the organization and give your new boss the opportunity to provide their ideas on how it might evolve.

Ask how frequently your boss would like to meet in person or schedule updates via email/phone so you can continue building on the initial conversations you have together.

Don’t overload your boss with too much information

A new boss has a lot to learn, including the team members themselves and what they do. Keep the information you initially provide to “need to know” - meaning only give your boss what will help in the first few days/weeks of their position.

Any more than that, and you risk repeating yourself in the future or, worse, having the information be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Discuss Expectations

Clarifying expectations is a great way to ensure you don’t find yourself facing issues that can be avoided as you figure out this new working relationship.

During your initial meeting, ask you new boss what their expectations are of the position. Not only should you be discussing the duties and performance expectations of the position but also a set schedule or communication procedure.

If you were previously permitted to work one day remotely from home each week, ask your boss if that is still acceptable.

Not everything may remain exactly as it was. As an employee, you need to be adaptable to changes that may occur.

Don’t make demands

Discussing expectations is also a great opportunity for you to lay out what your professional expectations of a boss are.

While you don’t get to demand how this person acts, your boss may appreciate knowing the kind of worker you are up front and what you expect out of a leader.

Discuss Challenges

In addition to discussing the expectations of the position and of your working relationship, a new boss is someone you should be discussing the challenges of your position with. The new supervisor likely has no history with that they can rely on.

Understanding from employees what is and is not working will allow your boss to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their new team and employees.

Don’t complain

Having an open discussion about the challenges you face in your position should not spiral downward in to a complaint session about your work or whom you work with.

Make sure when you are discussing challenges you are also coming prepared with possible ideas as to how they can be addressed.

Offer To Help

Taking over a new team and new employees can be very daunting for a supervisor. If the person is also new to the company, there is a lot of information your boss does not know that you likely take for granted.

Be open with your willingness to assist your new supervisor. This may include

Don’t appear to have too much time on your hands

Letting your new boss know that you are willing to help when needed is enough.

There’s no reason you should be stopping by their office multiple times a day to ask if your boss needs anything. It should be clear you are willing to help because you are professional not because you are bored.

Keep the lines of communication open

As your new boss settles in to his/her role, you will have many more opportunities to strengthen your professional relationship.

Don’t expect it to be smooth sailing from the start. It is not uncommon for there to be a few bumps in the road while the two of you (or a team) make things work. Keeping those lines of communication open will help you resolve any issues in a timely manner and develop a functioning work relationship.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
LinkedIn

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees.

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