Any change is challenging and calls for adaptation by all the stakeholders. This becomes gruelling when there is a new boss far more frequently than you like. The boss is bestowed with an authority to appraise your performance and hence, the most important stakeholder for you as an individual as far as the rewards and day-to-day work life are concerned. Moreover, the change in boss is often in the context of things which are not very clear to you and hence, what frame of mind and agenda the new boss carries could be quite overbearing on your mind. Interestingly, these are all unknowns! What do you do?
Treat the boss as a new client with its own quirks and unique needs!
We do not choose our bosses like many other things in life. So, one should just do what is in one’s control. You were possibly hired by your old boss, had an excellent rapport with her, enjoyed common areas of interest and had many unwritten practices by which you lived your work life. But the new boss inherits you and has no previous understanding of your abilities. If at all she has any prior information about you, it’s just a bunch of data with some vague visualisation of who you are. It is very similar to starting to work with a new client.
One needs to invest energy to know the new boss, discover her likes and dislikes, unearth her disposition towards you, give her an idea of who you are, what your goals are and how you work. One needs to find out what she wants, how she has been experiencing your performance and any changes that are required along the way. This investment of time and energy is critical to establish a working relationship to begin with. You are lucky if you two hit off well and build a great personal rapport.
The first few months of working together are expected to create a rhythm. If it doesn’t take place, it’s time that one should look at handing over the client relationship to someone else and move on!
Stay balanced and Don’t judge!
Several times, we expect dramatic things to happen with a change. It is important to keep the mind blank and not expect anything in particular from the new boss. Expectations may remain unfulfilled and thus, disappoint you. Hence, it is important to give some time to the new boss to settle down in the role and build a working relationship with you.
We should not make the mistake of comparing the new boss with the old because every person is unique and bring his or her strength along. It is bound to have differences between the styles of two different leaders and the context in which both operate does not remain unchanged. Hence, it is important to keep calm and not judge the person.
Ask if all is well!
We must assume that the new boss is liking certain aspects of your work and disliking some of them. And she might not be seeing certain aspects of your work. So, it’s important that you have a periodic chat with the new boss to discuss these frankly. It is important to go beyond hearing the feedback, learn from her strengths, appreciate her brightness and act on the feedback. Try your best to course-correct and align. Else you must look for alternate paths for your next phase of the journey!
Change is always around. Prepare well to deal with it!