You just found out your boss is being replaced with someone from outside your company. There were rumors going around that your department was under performing and upper management was looking to shake up its leadership. Once you get past the initial thought of having a new boss and what it means, you must focus on how you will present yourself to the new person in charge. Done correctly, it will cement in their mind how valuable you will be during their tenure as the leader of the department. Done incorrectly, you can kiss any promotion or upward mobility good-bye.
During the first few weeks of any transition you will notice fellow team members exhibiting various forms of behavior in an effort to win favor from the new boss.
Examples of Typical Attempts to Win Over the Boss
- Trying to be the first to offer help
- Making small talk to gain points
- Mentioning things to the new manager they feel they should know, usually in a way that puts others down with the intent to make them look good
- Ingratiating themselves, trying to act like a potential friend
Understand that this new manager is not looking for new friends. They are looking to see who on the team is going to help them be successful. Period. The manager is evaluating the talent of the team from the moment they walk in. They must determine if the ineffectiveness of the department was caused by poor leadership or by the team members. The new manager must decide which players on the team need to be reassigned or if they require additional management training.
At this point, your focus should be, “How do I want my new boss to view me?”
This thought gives you control and puts you in a more active state of mind versus waiting for the new boss to pass judgment.
Five Key Steps to Become a Valuable Asset to Your New Manager
You are in an optimal position because this new manager has no real picture of what type of team player you are. You can present whatever picture of yourself you want. So, if you always felt your previous manager did not view you as able to handle more but you feel you can, then this is the perfect opportunity to show this new manager what you can do.
- Know your position inside and out. The new manager must depend on their team to keep them informed and provide guidance when asked. You do not want to be in a position where you do not know the answer to a question or are unable to get the information within a very short period of time.
- Dress for the position you want to have. First impressions can make or break your status on the team. Take an honest look at how you dress, speak, move and act in the work place. Imagine yourself in the new manager’s shoes. What would you think if you saw how you interact in the workplace?
- Introduce yourself to the new manager. Give them a quick update on what you handle (even if they already knows this). Ask if there is anything they need from you.
- Schedule a meeting where you can bring your new manager up to speed. This is your chance to cement yourself as a valuable team member. In a concise manner, review the status of entire list of projects you are currently handling. Keep to the facts. Do not bog down the manager with your process or try to impress them with how hard you work. Ask how they would like to be updated on your progress. The manager may have a system already, but present the new manager with some options. For example, you could offer to send a report each week with bullet points showing where you are on each project and what things you will be working on during the next week. This will allow your new manager to be involved and make adjustments if needed.
- Deliver results on time and ask for help if you need it. Managers would rather offer guidance to ensure on-time performance than be surprised that a project they thought was on schedule is behind because you did not tell anyone you were unsure what to do.
In closing, as one who has had to take over many different types of sales and customer service teams, it is refreshing and exciting to be surrounded by people who take their responsibilities seriously and can demonstrate effectiveness.