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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

3 Obstacles You Have to Overcome When You Get a New Boss (Solutions Provided!)

boss and employee talking
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Raise your hand if things have always gone smoothly for you when you’ve gotten a new manager in the past. I have a hunch that if you’re staring blankly at your screen without your hand in the air, you’re definitely not alone.

Let’s face it—getting a new boss can be tricky. And even when both of you have good intentions, there are a few issues that might come up as they step into their new role. Here are a few to keep in mind.

1. You Work on Different Schedules

You’re used to leaving right at 5 PM. She’s more of a “I’ll be here way past happy hour” person. Neither of you are wrong, but it’ll probably feel uncomfortable to pack up for the day when your manager’s still grinding away. There might even be a few side-eye glances from her that make you wonder if perhaps you should cancel your plans for the night.

How to Address This

Bring it up—either in your check-in or via an email. It’s as simple as saying this, “Do you expect me to be in my seat during certain hours? If yes, I will make it happen, but if no, I wanted to share that I work best in the morning and would therefore like to come in earlier, and then leave a bit earlier.”

2. Your Personalities Clash

He’s a little bit country. You’re a little bit “midnight microwaveable pizza.” When you bump into each other in the kitchen, you don’t have much to say to each other. And that might make you wonder if he’ll eventually get tired of you and bring in someone that he can at least tolerate.

How to Address This

If your boss is a jerk, take Muse writer Sara McCord’s advice on how to deal with a bad boss. First, pinpoint the specific issue, then work to tackle that—rather than attempting to change the person’s entire being (more on that here).

But if you and your manager simply don’t connect on a personal level, avoid trying to be friends. As long as you can tell he means well, accept the fact that he won’t be your go-to person to discuss issues outside your job (and sometimes, that’s for the best).

3. He Doesn’t Understand What You Do

One of the most frustrating things a new boss once said to me was, “I don’t understand why this takes you so much time.” Of course he didn’t know! He’d only been in the role for a week, and we hadn’t even met one-on-one yet. Back then, I went home and complained to everyone who’d listen to me.

How to Address This

When your new manager joins the team, don’t wait for her to ask what you do every day. Take the initiative and bring a breakdown of a typical week at the office. This is beneficial for both of you. If she sees that you’re doing too much, she might be your advocate and help you get a few things off your plate. If nothing else, this can help her see just how much work goes into something that you make look so easy and effortless.

Working with a new manager is always going to be tricky, especially in the first few weeks. But even beyond the specific issues we discussed here, there’s one very general (but important) one that you should keep in mind. And that’s to avoid going into the relationship assuming it’s bound to fail just because it’s new. Rather, go into thinking that you might just be meeting your newest, greatest professional advocate.