Seven Tips for Dealing with Transient Bosses

By Harvard Business Review
January 3, 2019

It’s never easy to have several supervisors in as many years, but there are ways to make this challenging situation more tolerable. 

How do you develop an effective relationship with your manager when the person filling that role keeps changing? Here are seven tips for how to handle getting a new boss.

Schedule an “interview”: Schedule an appointment to meet your new manager one-on-one, and bring a copy of your resume. Speak about your accomplishments as you would in a job interview.

Discover the new priorities: Next, do a little detective work to find out why this boss was appointed and what it means for the organization. Is it a change in direction? A shift in mission?

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Modify and adjust: Ask each new boss how he or she likes to communicate. After a month or so, ask for feedback about how you’re doing.

Invest in the relationship, even if it’s temporary: Don’t think you don’t need a strong relationship with a new boss who may soon be replaced. You don’t need to be best buddies, but it is a good idea to make an effort to get to know the person.

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Focusing on learning: A new manager will almost certainly have something useful to teach you. Transient bosses are not in the best position to mentor and coach, but they do often bring new perspectives.

Check your attitude: You may find that you don’t like or respect your new boss as much as the previous one, but don’t dwell on the negative. If you need to vent, talk to your spouse or friends.

Maintain relationships: One bright side of frequent management switches is an increase in the number of senior managers who can vouch for your work. That’s why it’s smart to treat even short-term bosses as part of your growing professional network.

Copyright 2016 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

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