“I’m retiring in a couple of months,” my boss said recently. Managers come and go as organisations are restructured, people take promotions, retirement or new posts outside the company. But I’ll be sad to see him go – he has been a great manager over the past few years.
It got me thinking about what you need to do when your line manager changes. Here are 7 things to consider when you get a new boss.
1. Introduce yourself
It sounds obvious, but if your new manager is taking on a huge team, they may not have time in the first few weeks to get round everyone for personal introductions. Take the initiative and go and introduce yourself.
2. Introduce them to others
Starting work in a new company can be daunting, even for very senior managers. Help them make connections and meet the movers and shakers in your company. Don’t engineer meetings, but if they ask about something say, “Have you met so and so from Department X? They would normally be the main point of contact for that.” You can then open up the conversation and offer to introduce them, if they would like you to.
3. Google them
Don’t worry, they’ll be expecting it.
4. Explain your projects
What are you working on right now? Get some time in their diary to explain your projects, their benefits and their status. Talk about the key stakeholders and the project sponsors. Share your current issues and what you are doing about them, and make them aware of anything urgent that needs their attention.
5. Explain your take on the team
I recommend you only do this if asked, but a number of my previous new managers have asked for my views on the strengths and weaknesses of the team as a whole, and how the department is perceived by other departments. They obviously take this ‘insight’ under advisement, but for someone new to the company this can be useful information to know.
6. Ask what they need
Do they expect weekly status reports? Do they expect you to attend monthly conference calls? With a different manager comes a different way of working, so don’t expect them to stick to the same schedule of progress updates and meetings that you had with your last boss. Be upfront and ask what they are expecting. Then you won’t get caught out.
7. Be easy to work with
Every new manager (every manager, really) wants team members and direct reports who are easy to work with. Deliver on your promises. Be honest, punctual and approachable. Keep your sense of humour in check until you know how they will react to your jokes. Bring them problems only with a selection of solutions and a recommendation. Accept their decisions, but challenge where you think it is appropriate.
Remember, your job is to make your boss look good. They also have a manager who expects status updates and your role is to make your manager’s job easy by providing whatever it is that he or she needs in order to be a success. After all, if they are successful in their role, the success reflects well on you and the team. And they will remember you.