New boss

Tips for Working With a New Boss

So you have a new manager? Working with a new boss can be a challenging adjustment, but if you are proactive and open-minded, the transition will go a lot more smoothly. And the change could be a great opportunity for you to grow in your role. 

By Rebecca Hawk

You might be familiar with how to position yourself when you start a new job. But what about when you have the same job—with a new boss? Whether your previous supervisor was unexpectedly let go or moved on to a new opportunity, it’s in your best interest to be proactive about establishing a relationship and clarifying expectations with your new manager.

You can expect to face several common challenges whenever you’re working with a new supervisor. Here are a few tips for how to navigate them.


Your Boss Doesn’t Know What You Do

Especially if your new supervisor is new to the organization, she will likely spend her first few weeks getting oriented to your team and organization. Don’t be offended if she doesn’t immediately have a clear picture of your role. You can help by preparing a “day-in-the-life” summary of your work and an update on the projects you’ve been working on. That way, she can quickly see the value you bring to the team and determine whether responsibilities are properly allocated. This is a great chance to ask for resources that would help you do your job more efficiently and a smart time to refine your professional development goals.

Your new manager also might have some ideas about your methods. Be open to feedback and ready to explain why you do things a certain way. As with any workplace transition, this one might take some time, so plan for delays in normal processes and timelines as you begin working together. 


Your Boss Has a Different Schedule

Ideally, your organization has a flexible work policy in place and focuses on results rather than time spent at the desk. Even so, it’s a good idea to confirm your schedule with your new boss and understand his. If you’re an early riser who prefers to be out of the office by 4 p.m., and your new supervisor takes his time in the morning but stays late, you might be concerned about optics.

Let your new manager know what kind of schedule you’ve been keeping. (If you’ve been wanting to modify your schedule, on the other hand, let him know what kind of schedule you’d like to have.) Be open to hearing that your boss would prefer you to keep a similar schedule to his—and think about ways you can work together without sacrificing your best work hours.


You Don’t Feel Connected

If you shared a personal connection with your previous manager, it can be difficult to work with someone you don’t connect with. If you and your new supervisor don’t hit it off immediately, give it time. Of course, if you feel that your new boss is overly critical or simply difficult to work with, address it with her directly. If that doesn’t work, try speaking with your HR department about possible solutions.

Listen to feedback, respect the experience your new boss brings to the team, and focus on proving your value.

Even if you and your new boss are just very different people, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Creative friction can generate new ideas and better ways of working. Listen to feedback, respect the experience your new boss brings to the team, and focus on proving your value.

While working with any new colleague comes with challenges, working with a new supervisor can be a major boon to your career. Try to see the opportunity in your new situation: Your new manager might turn out to be your best advocate. 

Rebecca Hawk is the marketing specialist for Association CareerHQ at ASAE Business Services, Inc. Email: [email protected]

Career Development