January 24, 2023
The Do’s and Don’ts of Adapting to New Management
Adjusting to a new manager can be hard, especially if you had a synchronous relationship with your former manager. However you feel about the change, you’ll want to start things off on the right foot for the sake of your career and workplace experience. A new manager will acutely assess their team over the next few months. You can focus on a few key steps to get in stride with your new leader and point your relationship on an upward track.
Some of the most successful firms use structured New Leader Assimilation processes which include team workshops and Q&A sessions. The new manager and their team quickly gain an understanding of each other’s operating and communication styles, and business priorities. This efficiently ramps the team up to solve problems and carry out critical solutions.
- Set an appointment.
If your company hasn’t implemented New Leader Assimilation, you can captain the process yourself and still get excellent results. Let your new leader get settled into their seat the first few days, but after that, be quick to set an appointment on their calendar. When you take the initiative, you firmly plant yourself on your manager’s radar as someone who drives progress.
- Find out roles and goals.
Use your meeting time to get clear on the new team structure and responsibilities. When you understand your role and what the new manager expects of you, you can deliver what they want and avoid any misunderstandings. Ask to know their key priorities and the hard numerical goals they’ve set for you and the team.
- Establish communication guidelines.
Ask how the manager likes to give and receive information so you can immediately refine the way the two of you communicate. This is a great way to ensure you’ll never unknowingly illiterate your new boss, and you’ll more effectively get the information you need from them going forward.
- Ask how you can help.
Offer yourself as someone who’s willing to step outside your individual responsibilities to assist your new manager with getting up to speed as the new leader. This communicates empathy and shows the new manager your character as a team player. Stepping in to lead has its own challenges. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes and treat them the way you would want.
- Don’t compare.
Avoid the tendency to compare your new manager to your prior one. If you’re sold on the old manager’s way of doing things, you may have to pry open your mind to your new manager’s approach. Do so with a smile. Accept your new manager as an individual with a different (perhaps better) experience, skills, and insights. Initially, their approach will feel new, and thus hard. But after you’ve recalibrated you may find new effectiveness and opportunity under your new manager.
- Focus on the present.
There’s a place for sharing with your new manager details about how past processes were conducted. But don’t lament about them. Keep your mind tuned to what’s happening in the here and now. Commit yourself to execute with the current standards toward current goals. In the same vein, whatever issues and underpinnings were happening with the team under the old regime, let them go. Start with a clean slate and give time for different results to show up under different leadership.
- Don’t brag.
Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. Your new manager has data and can see your work for themselves. Your actions speak much louder. And traditionally, it’s the person that brags that ends up underperforming. Strong producers don’t have a reason to sell their reputation because it sells itself.
- Stay positive.
Your manager may have problems to tackle, but they want to work with positive people to do it. Avoid sharing your negative opinion about any other team member or your former manager. Instead, bring a good attitude to work each day. Be friendly to your leader and your team. Give others the benefit of the doubt, otherwise known as “grace’. Show that you’re hopeful about the future.
The CEO of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, Al Guido, says, “Take a stance of ‘Yes, if’ rather than ‘No, because’.”
Positive thoughts produce positive results and are critical to you presenting an authentically upbeat persona that makes people want to work with you.
- Pay attention to details.
Sometimes things happen. But during the first 60 days with a new manager at the head, you need to do everything possible to show up on time, be prepared, be organized, keep your workspace clean if you’re working on-site, present yourself in a neatly dressed and groomed manner, whether you’re at the office or on a Zoom meeting. Once a new manager forms their initial impression of you, it’s very hard to change. Make sure it’s a good one.
Let go of attachments to reach new heights!
When a new manager takes the reins, you’ve got an opportunity to reinvent yourself. Accept the chance to make a great impression and jumpstart your career. Welcome your new leader in a proactive and positive way with these tips, and accept the adjustment phase ahead as part of a bright road ahead.
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