Office Hours: What to Do When You Get a New Boss

Changes in management can be unsettling, whether they’re part of a major restructuring or due to just one person’s departure. We asked Suzanne Quigley, director of community and corporate responsibility at QVC and PA Conference for Women board member, for her advice on what to do when you get a new boss.

“First, let them know, especially during their onboarding time, that you are there for them—that you consider their success vital to the team’s success. The first few months of a new leader’s role can be overwhelming so whatever you can do to make their transition phase easier—to help them realize some ‘quick wins’—will establish the foundational trust to tackle the big projects, opportunities and challenges that will come in the future. 

“Second, let them know you are completely accountable and excited about the value your team brings to the company. Be as open and transparent as you can about yourself and give them a complete understanding of your functional area.

“Finally, though not least importantly, make a commitment to yourself that you are going to spend a good amount of time—the better part of a year—just getting to know your new boss. At the beginning, ask them, and over time, observe, their preferred work style, how they like to consume information, how they communicate with you and others on the team, what excites and drains them about their new role, and what they would like to accomplish in their new role. As you get to know them, adapt your work style and expectations for the relationship to the way they operate. My biggest mistake has been doing what I suggested above, but then expecting them to adapt to me and how it was with the previous boss.”

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