One of the biggest risks to your career is when you get a new boss. Gone is the understanding of your performance and contribution and the good working relationship you had with your previous manager.
Now you have to start all over again.
Even worse, 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 proactive and strategic. Here are some 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 level above you are solely with your old boss, and his or her peers don’t know you or value your contributions, you are at a major disadvantage when your boss leaves.
To prevent this, extend your interactions and work to build relationships within the company beyond your manager so other people can become part of your support network. This takes time and effort and sometimes a very light step depending on your current supervisor’s approach, but you will be rewarded when he or she 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 all you can about your new boss
If you know in advance, do some research on your new manager. If not, you’ll have to wait until the person is announced or, sometimes, after they show up.
This research is crucial to understanding what makes the new person 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 have worked for. Find common connections or check your own connections to see if someone worked in their previous company, 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 talks they have given, or other background information that can help you understand them better.
Even more important, when you finally do meet the person, ask what their preferred approach is when it comes to meetings, status reports, workplace communication, 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 doing things—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 and you need to sell yourself.