• A new boss is an opportunity, not something to be afraid of
  • Set them up for success and you’ll be successful too
  • Be yourself and get ahead on your skills 
You’re taking five minutes to chillax when it happens.

Amy leans across and divulges her latest piece of water cooler gossip. And this time, it’s big news.

Hey, did you hear? Mary’s replacement is on the way. Turns out they’re not promoting internally after all. Apparently, this one is coming from one of our biggest competitors.

So here it is.

After all these months without a proper boss, an external hire is coming in to replace them. It was nice not having a direct boss at times, but reporting to the next level up wasn’t a piece of cake either.

And now the panic starts brewing.

You’re excited but super nervous at the same time.

Against all odds, you actually liked your previous boss and you were crushed when they found another opportunity outside the company. But you got through it.

Now, the big looming question is - what if you don’t get along with your new boss?

You’ve had asshole bosses in the past and you’re stressing out about getting another one that will make your work life an absolute fucking misery.

These worries are totally normal. We’ve all had them and will continue to have them in the future.

But a new boss is also a chance for a clean slate. You can show them what you’re capable of and finally get the recognition you deserve.

It's also an opportunity to grow in your role. If you've felt stuck at work or unappreciated, a new boss can be just what you need to turn things around.

Getting off to a great start with your new boss is how you’ll make this happen. 

Why You Get Anxious About A New Boss

Getting a new boss can be intimidating and it brings a lot of stress. Your mind goes into overdrive and creates scenarios about how it’ll play out. Some of this is based on past experiences but often, you’re just catastrophizing.

It’s human nature’s default programming to be scared and worried.

Originally designed to keep you on your toes from being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger, your brain’s processor is always looking at things in the worst scenarios of today’s modern world. Even though none of them are truly life-threatening situations.

Here are three of the most common emotions.

1) You Feel Lost

If you hated your last boss, you probably did a happy dance when they left. But when you liked them, it brings a sense of loss.

You’re going to miss them and the relationship you had. Maybe, you got emotional when your boss quit. And now, you’re already comparing the newbie manager, even though you don’t know a thing about them yet.

Your new boss has a lot to measure up to. But give ‘em a chance. They might surprise you.

Instead of wallowing in your loss, channel your energy into building a good relationship that will bring happiness at work.

2) You’re Scared Of The Unknown

A new boss is an unknown quantity so it’s only natural you’ll be scared of where you stand.

This fear is next level when the role is being filled externally. You know nothing about this person and your paranoia is doing double time with the “what if?” questions.

Will they make staff changes?

What if they hate me?

What if I get even more shit piled on me when I’m barely staying alive as it is?

What if I have to prove myself all over again, even though I’ve worked for the company for years and I’m good at my job?

What if the
office asshole talks trash about me and ruins my rep before we even get going?

The list of agonizing questions can and will go on and on if you don’t put the brakes on it.

Here’s what you really should be asking yourself.

What if this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for to move ahead in my career?

This kind of alternative thinking is one of the best ways to manage the stress and fear of the unknown.

3) You’ve Had Bad Bosses & Expect The Worst

If your career has been littered with bad bosses, you feel like you hit the jackpot when you finally got a good one.

And now they’ve moved on, you expect to get another asshole in their place. It’s happened so many times, you don’t get your hopes up anymore. If your new boss doesn’t make your life a total misery, it’ll be a win.

This all or nothing mentality fuels your anxiety and makes things worse. Instead, give yourself a timeout and you’ll reduce a lot of the mental anguish.

The truth is that your new boss is likely to be somewhere in the middle - not perfect but not the absolute worst either.

And remember, you can set the tone for your relationship with a positive attitude and a plan to build rapport and trust.

How To Start A Good Working Relationship With A New Boss

First impressions are crucial with a new boss. How you come across in the early days sets the scene for what happens later on. It can be the difference between feeling happy at work and having a shitty time every day.

Your new boss will be sizing everyone up. There's no getting away from that. But this is an opportunity to succeed, not a reason to stress out.

Use the first couple of weeks to show you’re a trusted team player who doesn’t need to be micromanaged and won’t make their life hell.

Be proactive and look for opportunities like these ones to get off to a great start with your new boss. 

1) Get To Know Them As A Person 

Getting to know them as a human and not just a boss builds rapport. It's the first step to creating a great relationship.

Don’t worry if you don’t hit it off immediately. It can take a while to find common ground and build on it.

But in the meantime, keep an eye out for anything you can use to connect with your new boss. It could be shared hobbies, interests, passions, etc.

See if they want to grab lunch sometime too. But don't feel offended if they don't jump on it. It's nothing personal. They just don't want to look like they're favoring you.

2) Get Clear On What’s Expected Of You

Get crystal clear on what your new boss expects from you, including whether they want you to keep working on current projects. Get agreement on the top priorities because everything can’t be number one.

Asking outright gets you the info you need.

What are your goals for me for the next X weeks or months?

Or if they're not up to speed on what they need from you yet, ask about their goals for their role.

Don't be afraid to communicate what tasks you perform best at and how much you can take on without affecting your output. It's the only way to stop your boss from expecting way too much from you.

A good boss will be impressed by your initiative. Plus, they'll see you're open to feedback.

You’ve also got healthy boundaries in place from the get-go and you're not overextending yourself to meet goalposts that keep shifting.

If there's anything you're not sure about, this is the time to ask.

3) Be The Expert At What You Do 

Knowing you're being scrutinized is tough but you can use it to your advantage.

Show how great you are at your role by demonstrating you know your shit and have a handle on your performance.

When your new boss feels more confident in your capabilities, they're less likely to micromanage you and more likely to let you run things so long as the results are seen.

This is the time to go above and beyond with your job. No cyberloafing, slacking off or doing bullshit shallow work. This is your trial period and you need to show you're a serious worker to pass the test.

4) Understand Their Working & Communication Styles

Different bosses have their own ways of doing things and you may need to adjust your style to avoid conflict.

Your new boss may have a different approach to your previous one but that's not always a bad thing unless you're super uncomfortable with how they work.

Find out as much as you can about how your new boss likes to work.

Are they hands-on or will they let you take the lead on projects?

How often do they want progress updates?

Do they like to fire off quick emails or do they set up stupid meetings all the time?

Knowing these details avoids misunderstandings and awkward situations because you're not on the same page.

Once you know how they work best, align your working style to mesh with theirs. Then, when the both of you sync to the same pace and rhythm, you’ll get in the zone more often and kick ass.

But don't assume things will stay the same. They may want to run a tight ship at first but ease up the control as you prove your worth.

If you get the hint that their management style is changing, set up a follow-up meeting for a few weeks down the road and ask if they prefer to do things another way now. 

5) Don’t Kiss Ass Too Much 

If you think you’ll get further being a major suck-up, think again.

Changing who you are is exhausting and stressful. Using up so much of your energy being a people pleaser gets you a bad reputation in the long run.

You get frustrated and resentful when you run out of gas and can't keep up the facade anymore. Once these emotions rush to the surface, you start acting up. Before you know it, you've got a new reputation as the office brat. You’ve gotta be an adult at work.

This study published in Administrative Science Quarterly shows how this type of kissing ass can damage your career progress. It can also mess up your personal brand too.

A smarter move is to impress through results and not by sucking up. Be yourself, be productive and get ahead on merit. Your new boss will be much more impressed. 

6) Be The Inside Track On How Things Work 

When they first arrive, your new boss will need help to figure out the organization, decode company acronyms/vocabulary and get a grasp of any office politics.

Why shouldn't you be the one to get them up to speed and make their life easier?

While your coworkers are busy kissing ass, you're positioning yourself as someone who's a genuinely helpful team player - the “go-to” resource.

Helping them get up to speed quickly and navigate the work environment is the perfect way to make a good impression without compromising who you are.

Get the ball rolling by saying something like this:

“I’m sure you’ve had a big picture overview of how everything works from senior management or HR but I thought you’d appreciate getting a more in-depth perspective so you can hit the ground running.”

Then you can get into more detail about specific nuances they may not have been brought up to speed on.

They’ll appreciate your insight, especially if it’s something they’d otherwise have to spend days or weeks working out. 

7) Help Them Be Successful For Your Success

When your boss is successful, you’ll naturally be more successful too. Anything you can do to help them get ahead will reflect well on you.

You need to show you’re committed to helping them get ahead but this isn’t the same as kissing ass.

You’re not trying to gain favor here. You’re setting both of you up for long-term success so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

Being their inside track is a great start but there’s a lot more you can do to secure their success.

Ask them what you can take off their plate.

Most people sit back and wait to be told what to do but that only piles more pressure onto your new boss. And it sets up a massive power imbalance with you as the insubordinate.

To set up your own success, you need to position yourself as someone who is proactive, supportive and dependable. Not only will it make you look good, but it will also give you a sense of purpose and make your job more fulfilling and awesomer.

Your boss will be grateful you don't need spoon-feeding and you're making it much easier for them to get ahead, which is great news for you too. 

8) Don’t Take Things Personally

Your boss is making a big career change too and they’re likely feeling stressed AF and overwhelmed.

There will be times when your new boss might get snappy and/or frustrated with you, but it’s simply a symptom of their struggle with getting ramped up in their new role. So, don’t take things personally.

Also, they may micromanage you to begin with but it’s probably not permanent. They’re just learning how things work. It's likely not even about you.

Once they settle into their role, they'll likely ease up and trust you to work unsupervised.

But if things take a turn for the worse and they micromanage you, there are things you can do to deal with a control freak boss.

Your New Boss Can Be Your Ally

Getting a new boss can be scary and overwhelming but it’s also an opportunity. This is your chance to impress and show what you're capable of.

Get off to a great start and your new boss will be an ally who has your back when you need it and will sing your praises to everyone at the office.

There will be an adjustment period while you figure each other out but that's perfectly normal. This is where you can show you're a team player, build trust and lay a foundation for a really positive working relationship.

These first few weeks might feel like an ordeal but they'll pay off.

Just know that this can be a very good thing. Soon enough, you’ll be able to manage your boss effectively and be the superstar that you are.

So next time Amy, your cubicle neighbor, whispers updates to you about the new incoming boss, you won’t be scared, but instead, excited.

Feel Better,

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