The First Thing You Should Do If Your Boss Changes

So you’ve been in the same role for a while, have established yourself in the company and everyone loves you.

You’re a member of at least a few inner circles (don’t tell me your company doesn’t have them if you don’t want me to call you a liar), and maybe even the CEO knows who you are.

Then, for whatever reason, your boss changes. Maybe s/he retired, got laid off, or just transferred away or quit and now you have a new boss with Ingredient X! – “Washes Shinier Than The Old Boss!

Guess what guy? You just got a new job. You’re back on probation, and you have to prove yourself all over again just as if you’re a new hire at a different company. Sure, the new boss might have heard Good Things about you, but s/he’s going to need proof and confirmation.

Most people don’t get this immediately. The normal comfortable response is on the lines of “Hey, I was here first. Boss needs to prove themselves to me.

Bzzzt. Wrong. Now you’re on thin ice.

Just because you don’t have a new business card and a decent hike from moving sideways doesn’t mean you don’t have a new job. It’s to get the new guy to understand what you do well, and where you need help. I hate the cliche – “chinese word for threat and opportunity is (snore) … ” but if you don’t handle this well, it’s not going to benefit you in any way.

In some ways it’s actually worse. What if old boss got booted out for some good reason? And the perception is that you’re part of the problem too.

The new guy won’t know that you’re not. You’re guilty until believed innocent. The new guy’s in to fix things, and you’re potentially in the line to get fixed.

The best thing to do is to prepare. I don’t particularly like presentations, but whatever floats your boat. Get something ready, on the lines of:

  1. How were things before I came, good, bad and ugly.
  2. What I did to change things.
  3. Where we are now.
  4. Where I need your help.

Point 4 is the most important. The new guy wants to help and people like being asked to help. It makes them feel wanted and generally bossy. And most of the time, the new boss will have access to resources that the old boss either didn’t have, or was unwilling to release.

The other implicit message is that you’re thinking ahead, and are ready with data, to help.

But if you think you’re still in the old comfort zone, think again.

This entry was posted in Management, Software and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.