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How to Succeed with a New Leader

Whether your boss is new because you have a new job, or it's because you get a new boss in your current position, it’s vital to get off to a good start.

Make a good first impression, forge a productive working relationship, and you'll increase your job satisfaction, and move ahead in your career. If you don’t have a new boss, you may want to improve the way you work with the current leadership.

Some Ideas for Succeeding With a New Boss, or an Existing Boss:

  • Meet regularly. Schedule an introductory meeting as soon as possible, and check in regularly. You may need formal meeting sessions, or perhaps only a few minutes to touch base.

  • Clarify expectations. Avoid missteps by finding out what your leader considers the top priorities. Discuss the level of involvement he or she wants, and what forms of communication will best serve, for example, email, texting, or talking face to face.

  • Negotiate for resources. Advocate for what you need to get your job done. This could include additional personnel, funds, or continuing education opportunities.

  • Deliver results on the projects your boss cares about most. Prove you're a valuable team member by racking up accomplishments that matter to your new superior. If you have clarified priorities or expectations, this will be easier.

  • Offer assistance. Let your boss take the lead, but try to anticipate his or her needs. Your e experience and insight can help meet mutual goals. At the end of the day, whether you like it or not, your job is to help make your boss successful.

  • Be enthusiastic. Go the extra mile to exceed expectations. Maintaining a positive attitude will reduce stress during challenging transitions. Be willing to take on tasks that others don’t want to do.

  • Put yourself in their shoes. Your boss is breaking new ground too. Give her time to adjust and get used to a new organization and colleagues.

  • Resist the urge to make comparisons. Keep your mind open when it comes to different approaches. This may be an opportunity to find new and better ways to accomplish tasks and achieve goals.

  • Be cautious about disclosing personal information. Allow rapport to develop gradually and naturally. Stick to business and small talk until you get to know each other better. If you eventually become personal friends who relate on a deeper level, that's a bonus.

  • Prepare for your annual review or evaluation. Try meeting quarterly or at least every six months to discuss your progress. This allows time to make any mid-course corrections. It will help avoid unpleasant surprises, and your boss will appreciate your commitment.

  • Consider a new position if necessary. If the situation is untenable despite your best efforts, you may need to see if you can transfer to another department, or find a new job. Discreetly explore other options, while still taking care of your responsibilities, and preparing for an amicable departure. Your search may be more extended than you would like, so be gentle with yourself, and welcome support from loved ones.

There is a lot at stake when you get a new boss. It’s natural to feel apprehensive, but take the initiative, clarify expectations, and maintain open communications. That way, you'll both likely come out ahead.

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