One of the biggest risks to your career is when you get a new boss. Gone is your boss's knowledge about your performance and contribution and the good working relationship you had with the previous boss.
Now you have to start all over again.
And even worst, sometimes that new boss was hired to make changes or they simply want to put their own stamp on the organization. Sometimes that change ends up being you.
During this critical change, you must be pro-active and strategic. Here are XX survival tips you can use to break in your new boss and keep your job.
Start before you get a new boss
If most of your interactions at the next level up are with your old boss and their peers don’t know you or your value and contribution, you are at a major disadvantage when your boss leaves.
To prevent this, extend your interfaces and relationships within the company beyond your boss so they can become part of your support network when a brand new boss arrives. This takes time and effort and sometimes some a very light step depending on your current boss’s approach, but you will be rewarded when your boss leaves. It is also one way to get considered for replacing your boss. If the decision makers don’t know enough about you, it’s hard for them to consider you for the role.
Learn about your new boss
If you know in advance, do some research on your new boss. If not, you’ll have to wait until the boss is announced or sometimes, only when they show up.
The research is crucial to understanding what makes them tick, what is important to them, how they have handled or managed staff before and what issues or risks you need to look out for.
Start with a LinkedIn search. If they are in your network, you can find out where they came from and what companies they worked for. Either find common connections or check your own connections to see if someone worked in the company with your new boss and ask your contact what they know. Do some legwork and try to learn as much as you can about your new boss, preferably before you first meet.
Beyond LinkedIn, you can do a simple google search. That may reveal associations they are involved with, past initiatives, presentations or other background information that can help you understand them better.
Even more importantly, you should ask your boss what they prefer related to meetings, status reports, involvement or anything else related to your position. Instead of assuming they will operate like your old boss or they will immediately like how you operate, you should ask. If it is different from your approach, you have an opportunity to sell them on your way of thinking, or at least, know you will have to work with it until you can convince them to change.
Pass the Interview
Often, the new boss will meet with their new direct reports to learn as much as they can about you, your department and issues or opportunities. Don’t look at this as a simple meeting where you are sharing information and ‘bringing them up to speed’.
This is a job interview. You need to sell yourself.
If you managed to learn more about your boss before this meeting happens, you’ll be better equipped to sell because you will know your audience. If not, you still need to consider what a new boss would need, what to share and what to hold back at least for now, and how to position you and what you do.
Understand what others might tell your boss
Your new boss will be in a learning mode, particularly if they are new to your company or your division. They will talk to and listen to many others, including their new direct reports, their peers and their boss or other senior management they interface with.
You need to have a good idea of what others may say about you, your department or your staff so you can provide a counterpoint to misinformation or misunderstandings proactively. Do this carefully, don’t just say something like “So and So will tell you this, but they are wrong….”
Instead, knowing what might be said to your new boss, simply share background information and the facts so when they are told something, they will already understand the context or issues.
Don’t Attack Others
It’s tempting to tell your boss that your colleague isn’t doing a very good job or point fingers at others around you to protect yourself or make your new boss think you are the higher achiever on the team.
That would be a mistake, at least to do it openly. What you can do is arm your new boss with information and even questions to ask so they discover for themselves what you already know. This is a much more powerful approach than saying bad things about others to your new boss.
Evolve Your Style
Let’s face it, you may have to change to fit your new boss’s style or expectations. If you want to stay and thrive, you must be flexible enough to make changes needed to satisfy your boss and develop the relationship, understanding and trust necessary to survive getting a new boss.