What to do when the new boss affects your career
Imagine yourself in work bliss - perfect job, amazing workmates, a hefty paycheck, and a generous package of benefits. You literally can’t ask for anything else, until your boss-sent-from-heaven decided to retire, and the replacement makes The Devil wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly seem pleasant.
The new boss drives everyone nuts with impossible demands, cutting comments, and ridiculously high standards. It’s his habit to assign tasks but snoops into everyone’s business and never fully agrees to anything. You won’t hear any good feedback unless it directly shows him in good light. To make matters worse, she makes rude comments about people’s appearance, swears at her employees and is slowly infecting the office’s previously great culture with a toxic smog that won’t lift.
Because of this, you’ve been thinking about quitting. We don’t blame you, but instead of tossing in the towel straight away, there are a few things you can do to try and make the situation better.
Here’s how you can try smooth out a rough transition with the new boss:
Get to know them
If you find it hard to like her, try figuring out the reason behind her actions and motivations. You know what they say, you’ll never really know a situation until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. Maybe her intimidating demeanor is just a front for her self-consciousness. Perhaps it’s how she’s trying to establish herself as a person of authority so no one will simply label her as ‘the new girl’. There are many possibilities, so don’t immediately jump to hate.
Give him/her a chance
If your new boss is filling some big shoes, chances are he’s nervous about it. He may use criticism to mask insecurity, so think of ways to put the new boss at ease. Are you working on a project that he needs to get up to speed on? Write a memo and outline any information you think could help him. Work with him instead of working against him, and chances are you’ll definitely see big changes in how he interacts with you and others.
You shouldn’t just settle with having a bumpy relationship with your boss. Talk to her and discuss your issues while maintaining your cool and professionalism. Express how sometimes you feel there’s a lack in communication, or how it seems she disapproves of all your actions. Tell her exactly how you feel and suggest how you two can work more effectively in the future, but also give her a chance to explain herself. Also, be open to her opinion and suggestions to ensure good outcome. Don’t place all the blame on her during the conversation, as this is likely to only get her back up.
In case things do go really south, keep a record of everything. Save emails from your boss, document any rude and unprofessional encounters, and - if things start to get too hard to handle - set up a meeting with HR to discuss your issues. By documenting these things you are simply protecting yourself. Hopefully you have no need to use this ammo, but it’s good to have it in your back pocket just in case.
Check your own attitude
Half the time, issues with a new boss are made worse because of the staff. You loved your previous boss, and so you didn’t even really give the new one a chance. When he started, did you act defensively? Did you constantly say, “that’s not how [old boss] did things!”? Did you actively say you “can’t” do something, or that task is “impossible”? We get it, it’s tough navigating change, but as a professional you’ve got to be able to keep things ticking over, while managing your personal feelings.
Your new boss is here to stay, and so are you - so it’s up to you to do your part and help make the transition easier for everyone.
Need more advice like this? Check out Monster Malaysia’s Career Centre for tips and advice for your professional life.