Social media manager Lia, not her real name, just survived a company merger that’s been in the works for months. Though it’s the same team, it feels like a new company with an entirely new boss she’s never met.
For those who are just starting in their careers like Lia, a new manager brings an entirely new workplace dynamic that could make or break their careers, hence the anxiety, life coach Shaun de Joya told reportr.
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“The common challenge for people in the workplace is when they have new bosses, they're reserved in having conversations,” de Joya said.
“They have this fear that maybe this boss is out there to get them or remove them from the company. And it's a common trap. We call that mind traps in which we have this bias already of what to expect,” de Joya said.
Why the new boss?
Most employees get a new boss when they transfer companies, but it’s not universal. Acquisitions, lateral movements, and projects done with different departments can land you with a new boss.
“You would need to comply and confirm with them. So technically, they're your boss too, especially if they're higher than you,” de Joya said.
An old boss may be resigning or retiring, prompting the company to replace them with a hire whose skills match industry needs.
Promotions are usually in order whenever a senior position opens up, but tenure doesn’t always mean being boss. Depending on the company’s situation, employers may instead seek a replacement outside of the company to serve as fresh eyes and provide new solutions to old problems.
According to de Joya, this is called a blind spot, “in which if you're used to working with a company, you're used to the process and people and what have you that you seldom see these different things. So perspective plays a crucial role there.”
De Joya said a new boss is usually hired if none of the current employees are prepared or equipped with the skills and knowledge for the position just yet.
“At times people would complicate the conversations, they would reserve themselves from speaking their mind. That's going to be a trap as well,” de Joya said.
“Your boss is not someone who is a manghuhula, who will just think whatever you're thinking. Because the reality is they don't know you, don't know what you need. They don't know what you want. They don't know what's going on,” he said.
De Joya said it’s best for employees to inform their bosses of their direction right away. The sooner your boss knows about your career plan and trajectory, the more knowledge they’ll have on what tasks to give you, where to put you, and how to strategize growth for the entire team or department, as leaders in senior positions often have to think of the bigger picture.
“That is the value of being open upfront, because bosses really want to help you succeed in your career. But of course, it really depends on you and how you're going to approach it,” de Joya said.
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Voicing out your expectations can help your new boss better understand where you’re coming from, but don’t forget to listen to their expectations of you too.
“Then whatever your action is and your behavior, it will align to what they look forward to. [Company] culture plays a crucial role in the job that we have,” he said.
Whether you’re the company newbie or you have a boss that’s new to the system you’ve known for almost forever, company culture affects how things run.
“It's best for you to have the conversation on what kind of culture your boss would like to create. So it's really clarity on the conversation and the language,” he said.
“When [employees] continue to delay [important conversations], it will affect them and it will also affect the relationship because you have something inside of you that you want to express you want to share,” he said.
Some employees withhold conversations because of certain beliefs that haven’t been validated yet. De Joya recommends experimenting and taking action—a simple, yet difficult answer.
Give your boss a chance
“If you come into a space with an open heart and an open mind, it's something that would really just allow you to welcome differences, welcome different things and welcome the discomfort of getting to know that person,” he said.
Employees may have great skills and a drive for success, but “if you can’t build a relationship with your boss then it's not gonna matter.”
“Make your boss look good,” he said. “Don’t be the cause of the stress of your boss. If you help your boss appear good-looking in front of their bosses, you’ll do well,” he added.
“Get to know the leadership style of your boss, get to know the personality. Take a look at what's predictable. For you to be able to have that cohesive relationship with your boss is to understand how they think, how they feel, and how they act,” he said.
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What if it really doesn’t work out?
Some bosses and employees just don’t get along and it’s perfectly acceptable for workers to assess their options after exhausting all means to land on the same page.
Ask yourself: “What’s the worst and best thing that could happen if I leave?”
“Self-love is self-care. You need to be clear with the boundaries that you have.”
“If your boss is not listening to you even though you’ve tried different things, then move on. If you’re affected, mentally, physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, make a decision to stand your ground. You only have one life to live,” he said.
“Even if you're not in that space yet in which you think you're gonna get a new boss, always [tell] your mind that change is always constant. It's going to happen in any way shape or form,” he added.
If you are looking for a place where you can nurture and develop your relationship with your boss or other people, you can get in touch with a certified CACC life coach at the Life Coach Philippines hub in Kapitolyo, Pasig City. For more information, visit Life Coach Philippines' Facebook page and D' Cup Coffee Republic's Facebook page.