HOW TO “MANAGE UP” WHEN YOU HAVE A NEW BOSS

Part of owning your career and standing out for the right reasons includes building meaningful relationships that can positively impact your life in both the short and long terms. And let’s face it: There are fewer people who can affect the trajectory more than your manager, so savvy workers make it a priority to cultivate a genuinely congenial connection with their higher-up. But what if you’re having to start fresh with a new supervisor? Whether you adored or abhorred your previous boss, below are a series of tips for the Stylish Standout who realizes the importance of smooth employee-manager dynamic.

IF YOU LOVED YOUR PREVIOUS BOSS…

1) Prepare yourself your change

Avoid investing too much energy reflecting on what you’ll miss about the manager who’s leaving–the lavish lunch spreads, hands-off approach to management, Friday morning post-Scandal chats–and focus on bracing yourself for what’s to come. For example, your new boss may prefer reports submitted in Excel instead of Word or for you limit your non-work Internet usage throughout the day. Whatever the variances in management and personality styles between the former and incumbent leaders, one thing’s certain: The new boss has a vision for the team and you’re best served if you do little to disrupt the implementation of it.

2) Welcome the opportunity to forge a new partnership

Approach working for someone unfamiliar as a chance to learn more about how they tick, from their decision-making process to the way they measure success. I’m well known for stopping in my boss’s office when he has a spare moment to ask about my performance, how I more effectively use my skills, and how he’s handled certain issues that I’ve encountered in the workplace. When bosses know you’re as invested in them as they are you, the comfort level for the both of you will increase dramatically.

3) Keep in touch the exiting manager

Jot down your departing supervisor’s contact info and follow-up regularly. Share successes, like kudos from an senior leader on a well-organized presentation, or ask how her new endeavor is unfolding. By consistently touching base and apprising her of what’s going on in your work world, you’ll retain a mentor to advise you of potential growth and career-advancement opportunities. But tread carefully when it comes to sharing internal proprietary details with your old head honcho. Remember: She’s not with the company anymore and you don’t want to risk the same for yourself.

IF YOU LOATHED YOU PREVIOUS BOSS… 

1) Don’t bash your old manager to your new one

It’s customary for a freshly installed leader to conduct one-on-ones to gain a pulse of the team and its members. If you’re granted one, escape the impulse to air your old boss’s dirty laundry, regardless of how badly and unprofessionally she may have treated you. Two wrongs don’t make a right and the worst thing to do is to plant a seed in the back of your new manager’s mind that you’re mean-spirited and a rumormonger. Instead, focus on the future and the expertise you bring to the table. Individual face time with the boss is scarce–don’t waste it!

2) Perform some self-reflection

It’s easy to point fingers and assume that your unhappiness is the result of someone else’s actions. That’s why it’s critical to conduct a self-analysis and ask friends, family, coworkers and mentors to objectively offer up some feedback on your attitude, work ethic and overall demeanor. You may find that the bigger problem wasn’t your “no-good” boss, but instead your negative energy.

3) Leave the past there

I once worked for someone that I was aching to break away from and once I finally did, I spent the next two weeks waxing on how much I hated working for them … until a friend reminded me: You don’t work for them anymore! The takeaway? Reporting to a miserable boss has an expiration date–either they’ll be replaced or you’ll become tired enough that you end up leaving–and once that date comes, don’t bring that baggage into the upcoming opportunity. Let go, start over!

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