Is there anything more frustrating than working your tail off for your boss and then one day -- poof! The boss is gone and you've got to start all over with a new manager.
It would be helpful if you could just direct the new boss to a YouTube video that documented all your hard work, but that's not possible. Instead, you've got to be smart about the way you let the new boss know that you can be a valuable member of the team, and not just dead wood hanging around from the last administration.
If you want to know how to do it, read the latest story I did for Gannett/USA Today.....
Just when you think you've figured out how to stay in the boss's good graces and do the work that gets you ahead, the whole thing gets thrown out the window: You're getting a new boss.
The project you worked on so hard last year? The new boss doesn't know about it and doesn't really care to know. The times you stayed late and came in early? Again, the new boss doesn't know and doesn't care.
Does that mean everything you've worked for has been for nothing? Well, yes and no.
Yes, your hard work will pay off because it's given you important experience or helped improve your skills. But because the new boss wasn't around to witness it or benefit from it, you probably won't gain any points with a new manager.
George Bradt, an expert in helping executives learn the ropes at a new company, says that whether you get a new boss or your boss gets a new boss, it's a "major change with an enduring impact," and you've got to "hit the reset button."
"A new boss doesn't care what you did before," he says. "What is valuable is the relationships and the skills you have to contribute going forward."
Does that mean you hit the new boss with a litany of your accomplishments the minute the new person crosses the threshold of the corner-office at your company?
"That's not the way you want to do it. When given the chance, you want to talk about what you've learned in the last year," Bradt says. "That's a way to make what you've done still seem valuable."
While you may have mixed emotions about a new boss, it's important not to express any regrets, anger or skepticism, he says.
"You really need to treat the new boss decently," he says. "Your job is to make this person feel welcomed, valued and valuable."
So how do you get off on the right foot and start to rebuild your reputation?
Bradt, author of such books as, The New Leader's 100-day Action Plan, suggests some ways for workers to adapt to a new boss:
• Determine the work style.
Does the new boss favor phone calls over email or texts?
Does she want you to check in once a week or once a month?
What decisions need the boss' input?
These are all key questions to ask a new boss. Then follow that format even if your previous boss did just the opposite.
• Figure out whether you can disagree and how.
Does the new boss want you to offer your feedback in private?
Is it OK in front of trusted team members?
"Ask the boss what she wants. But don't believe her," Bradt says. "Most people overestimate the appetite for disagreement. It's best to watch what happens to others who disagree ... and follow what seems to work best."
• Become a stalker. This doesn't mean you cross the line and go through the new guy's trash, but it does mean you use whatever resources you can to check out your new manager.
Use Google's search engine, the LinkedIn professional networking site and check out industry publications for mentions.
"Just remember that you don't want to stray into personal or unrelated territory. Always make the assumption that the boss will know anything you looked at," he says. "She will know if you — or your parents — looked her up on LinkedIn."
• Be a teacher. The new boss has a learning curve, just as anyone does with a new job.
Don't try to hide anything because the sooner she gets a realistic picture of what's going on, the more she'll appreciate it. Your relationships can be key to her doing her job better, so help her make key connections and demonstrate you're a team player.
"Everything really comes back to attitude," Bradt says. "If you don't want to help a new leader do well, then you won't do well. And you're going to fail before she does."