7 Tips for Dealing with a New Boss

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Getting a new boss can be almost as nerve-wracking as starting an entirely new job. You may have had a friendly rapport with your old supervisor, but the new head honcho barely knows your name. Gone are any of the corporate brownie points you may have accumulated previously for staying late or coming up with a last-minute, saves-the-day solution. And now you have to learn a whole new person’s quirks and collaboration style.

But never fear. Here are seven tips to ease the transition with your new boss, either at your current company or a new one.


The first few days of any new job are hectic, so don’t expect to have a lot of time to rub shoulders with your new boss. Instead, schedule a specific time to talk. Be proactive about sitting down together within that first week or so, so that you get off on the right foot.


It’s important to be on the same page as to what you’re working on, how often you should provide updates on your progress, which projects you should prioritize, etc. During your first meeting, clarify what your new boss wants from you, and how you can go about delivering it.


Change doesn’t always go smoothly. Furthermore, your new boss may readjust her workflow and expectations of her subordinates as she settles into her new position. Set the date for a clear, definite follow-up meeting a few weeks down the road so that you two can check in on what’s going well and what needs to be tweaked. Talking things through in this way will be a lot easier than figuring out months later that you’ve been doing something wrong.


A lot of what makes a good work relationship is simply knowing the other person. Does your boss like to sit at his desk with coffee for a good half hour before talking to anyone in the morning? Does she actually expect you to answer that 3 a.m. email immediately? Will he tell you when you’ve done a less-than-satisfactory job, or do you need to seek out feedback? Keep an eye out for your new boss’s personal quirks and preferences so that you’ve got a better idea of how to make both your lives easier and more productive.


While a little quiet observation goes a long way, in many cases, you need to be more direct. If you don’t know what your new boss prefers, ask. The more questions you get out of the way in the beginning of your working relationship, the smoother things will go in the future. Plus, you’ll look committed to accommodating your supervisor’s needs.


Your supervisor may have plenty of experience in the business, but that doesn’t mean he knows where the supply closet is. Make yourself available to help out with the little things that might not be obvious to a new hire, like showing him how to work the temperamental coffee machine or letting her in on your office’s secret list of go-to lunch spots.


Your new boss may be nothing like your old boss; he might want to completely revamp certain aspects of the company. Try not to endlessly compare your new supervisor to your old one, and realize that the way you’ve always done things isn’t necessarily the best way possible.