How to Work with a New Manager

You've been working for a while. You know the ins and outs, who to go to for what, and you're...

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Y ou've been working for a while. You know the ins and outs, who to go to for what, and you're comfortable with the way things operate. The thought of how to work with a new manager never crossed your mind. Then, one day, everything changes. Your manager is replaced. Maybe they retired, got promoted, or just got up and quit. Now you're left with someone new to answer to. Do you think you can handle it? Do you trust your new manager?

A Harvard Business Review poll revealed that 58 percent of employees trusted a stranger more than their boss! It could be because nearly 60 percent of employees also said they don't feel appreciated. If you're in the majority that doesn't trust their boss, or if you're simply struggling to find common ground with your new manager, here are a few tips on how to work with them. 

Understand Your Manager

The first step to working better with your manager is understanding them and their management style. Does she prefer clear instructions, or does she like employees to take some initiative? How does she handle conflict? What are her communication preferences? You set the tone for a healthy working relationship by getting to know them. 

You can get to know them more by asking questions (not personal ones, of course) or by simply observing their behavior. If your manager is the type to micro-manage, they'll probably be more hands-on with your work. If they're more relaxed, they might give you more leeway.

Communication Is Key

It cannot be stressed enough. The most crucial element in a good working relationship is effective communication. When you have a new manager, there will be many changes happening. Some will be significant, some minor. No matter the size, it's vital that you communicate with your manager about these changes and how they affect you and your work.

Communicating your concerns doesn't have to be complicated. Simply set up a meeting (in-person or virtual, depending on the situation) and explain your thoughts honestly but respectfully. By doing this, you're letting your manager know that you are invested in the company and want to work together to find a solution.

Fill in Their Gaps

Managers are just as human as you. They have their shortfalls and their perks. They may make mistakes or require you to do things you're not comfortable with. Rather than dwell on their shortcomings, try to fill in the gaps and help them where you can. You'll be surprised how appreciative they'll be.

You can fill in the gaps by being proactive and offering solutions to problems rather than just pointing them out. For example, if you know your manager is forgetful, you can send them reminders or make sure that important deadlines are on their calendar.

Be a Team Player

No one likes a know-it-all. If you want to work better with your manager, you must be a team player. Managers are more likely to trust and confide in employees they see as collaborators rather than those they see as competition.

Of course, being a team player doesn't mean being a pushover. It's essential to have your own opinions and ideas. But when it comes to working with a new manager, it's best to let them take the lead. You can pitch your ideas later once you've established a rapport.

Respect Their Authority

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want your manager to respect you, you need to respect their authority. This means following their instructions (within reason, of course) and being a good role model for other employees. However, some employees may find it disturbing to adjust to a new boss's management style if it significantly differs from the old one. If you're one of them, try to give your new manager the benefit of the doubt and see how things play out.

Please remember, respecting their authority doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything they say or do. If you have a problem with something, it's essential to speak up. But when you do, make sure that you're respectful and constructive.

Trying to figure out how to work with a new manager can be daunting and challenging, but it's important to remember that it's a two-way street. Your new manager will be putting in effort hence you shouldn't be the only one. Just remember to introduce your best professional self.