After a company merger, I got a new manager directly over me who is the polar opposite of her predecessor, who I just loved working for. It’s been a few months, and I have a funny feeling that my new boss hates me. I don’t know what to do about it. Help!
Now, now; let’s not jump to conclusions. You may not have adjusted to your new boss’s completely different personality yet. Have you noticed any of these red flags?
- You’re being micromanaged when others are not.
- Your boss avoids you and doesn’t return your phone calls and emails.
- She doesn’t make eye contact, has crossed arm “closed” body language, and rarely smiles in your presence.
- She doesn’t ask for your input and dismisses your contributions in meetings.
- She leaves you out of key meetings completely or hands plum assignments to others.
- She doesn’t give you feedback – positive or negative.
- Or, she criticizes you – constantly or in front of coworkers.
If you are experiencing several of these behaviors, you may be right: Your boss may dislike you. But it’s still early in the transition period. You may be able to win her over.
- Clarify expectations. Set up a one-on-one to provide your new boss an overview of your current role and ask if she envisions any changes. Bring your job description to see if she foresees any duties that will be added or taken away. Ask your new manager how you can be successful under her leadership.
- Help your new boss succeed. This isn’t a one-way street. If your new supervisor was hired from the outside, you can help explain procedures and help her get acclimated. Without calling her out or embarrassing her in front of colleagues (“That’s not the way we do that!”), share your institutional knowledge and you may win an ally.
- Identify her personality style. If you’ve taken the DiSC profile or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in your workplace, you’ll probably be able categorize your new supervisor’s traits. Don’t judge her by your former boss’s best attributes; discover your new manager’s strengths. Read up on workplace profiles to learn how you can increase your effectiveness in your 9-to-5 relationship.
- Actively participate in meetings. Even if your ideas seem to be met with the enthusiasm of a wet blanket, continue to chime in with optimism. If you’re taking a “wait and see” approach, your lack of engagement in meetings may cast you as a non-contributor and possibly put you on the top of the chopping block list. Give your new boss a chance to get to know you and value your contributions.
- Be open to new ideas. If you want your boss to respect your opinions, avoid being negative about new perspectives or procedures your newly-appointed supervisor brings to the table.
Even though you and your new manager did not have the luxury of choosing each other in an interview and hiring process, you can learn to coexist and employ your differing approaches to your company’s advantage.
Readers: Have you ever had a rough start with a new manager? How did you improve the work relationship?