Working for a New Manager
Getting a new boss or manager can be difficult. Perhaps you really liked the way your previous manager did things. Maybe you established a great reputation with your old manager and you’re worried that the new one may not recognize your talents or respect your history in the organization. Maybe you’re concerned that your new manager will change the team structure your job tasks, or your role in the company. Whatever the reason for concerns, it’s important that you understand that changes may occur and to prepare yourself for how to embrace them positively.
While resistance to change is natural, it doesn’t always work out well. There likely will be changes with a new manager at the helm and you must learn how to adapt to the changes while continuing to perform in your role. This doesn’t, however, mean that you will need to blindly accept all changes.
Regardless of whether or not your new manager is new to your organization or has risen up the ranks, a good way to understand where he or she is coming from is to book time to speak to him or her directly. Arrange an informal meeting, perhaps over lunch or coffee, to get to know each other better and to discuss your manager’s expectations and goals as well as what you want to accomplish. Highlight how you see the two of you working best together Communicate how you can continue to make a contribution to the team. This meeting will help you determine if your new manager’s goals and expectations are different from (or the same as) your previous manager. Having this discussion can also help you adapt to a different management style. For example, your new manager may be more hands-on than your previous leader or he or she may want more (or fewer) updates from you. Having a discussion will help you understand their expectations and adapt to them successfully.
When a Peer Becomes a Manager
It can be difficult to accept when one of your peers becomes your manager. When someone who used to work alongside you is now responsible for managing your performance, both you and your new manager may feel uncomfortable. When you meet with him or her to discuss your new relationship, offer to help make the transition as easy as possible by establishing priorities and providing support while they adjust to their new role. It may take some time for both of you to adjust to your new, perhaps more formal, relationship. However, by being clear about expectations and remaining friendly, the transition can be successful for everyone.
If Your New Manager is Younger than You
Working for someone younger than you can also pose challenges as often employees have a difficult time respecting someone who doesn’t have the same level of experience as them (in years) even if they are highly competent (in expertise). However, it’s important to remember that it is also a challenge to manage a more experienced employee. By taking a moment to understand the other person’s point of view, you’ll likely find that there are ways you can work together to make the situation easier for everyone.
Working for a younger manager is a great opportunity to demonstrate what you have to offer. Your experience, maturity and knowledge will come in handy as they can rely on you as an expert and you will likely find a variety of situations where you can use these skills to help your team succeed.
It’s also important to understand that there are several fundamental differences between how different generations approach work. Rather than being upset, annoyed or confused by these differences, work with your new manager to understand their expectations and politely provide advice when you feel it’s needed. This will allow you to have a functional relationship rather than a combative one.