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How to Acclimate to a Newly Hired Boss (and Protect Your Job)

Workplace survival during a leadership change is an exercise in Social Darwinism (and sometimes involves more bootlicking than we'd like to admit).

Navigating the murky waters of office politics is rarely an enjoyable experience (unless, of course, you’re this guy). The whole dumb exercise combines the worst of Machiavellian ambition with the ruthlessness of Social Darwinism. So much depends on paying respect, acting in deference, and seeing through the veil of decorum that envelops every meeting or task. The day-to-day filtering of all that superficiality gets real tiring real quick. I suppose this why we have weekends.

At no other time is the whole charade more stressful than during a leadership transition. Getting a new boss — particularly one joining your company from the outside — means having to prove yourself worthy to someone who may have visions of installing a new team to serve his or her purpose and vision. In essence, the first few months of a new boss’ reign is like a long and taxing job interview out of which you need to demonstrate why you belong. You’ll have to stress the value you provide the organization, be assertive in promoting your skills, and (sadly) prepare to lick a few boots along the way.

Career writer Jada A. Graves has a piece over at U.S. News all about adjusting to a new boss. Her advice fits the mold described above: it’s survival of the fittest so it’s important to prove to the new leader that you’re fit enough to survive. This means:

Extra vigilance: no loafing, work some extra overtime, and keep criticisms to yourself (and out of the web of gossip).

Taking initiative: reach out to the new boss instead of waiting for him or her to reach out to you.

Doing your homework: LinkedIn is your friend — find out all you can about the new head honcho and use it to your advantage.

Flexibility: More often than not, it’s going to be the new boss’ way or the highway, so don’t be pushy and say things like “this is how we’ve always done it.”

Read more of Graves’ advice over at US News and share your own tips down below in the comments.

Photo credit: dotshock / Shutterstock


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