A new boss like a new broom certainly sweeps clean, as Boris Johnson has proved this week. Like him or loathe him, no one can deny his optimism and can-do approach and while there are many who rejoice at the positivity he brings to the Conservative Party there are others who are thinking ‘what next?’ and wondering ‘how does this affect me?’—We’ve already seen a long list of casualties from Theresa May’s tenure as Boris’s new-look cabinet takes shape.
The status quo overturned
A new boss can be a welcoming force for good or a terrifying nemesis depending on whether or not you enjoyed privilege or status with the previous incumbent. The ‘devil you know’ may be a bad boss, but at least you had a job, while a newly arrived ‘devil you don’t know’ may be a great boss who immediately spots the weakest members of the team and you worry whether you may be singled out for a reshuffle.
..Back in the under-reported world of work in an office somewhere in Tyneside, Teesside, or Wearside, a change of leadership at the top is happening somewhere now. Indeed the role of chief executive at Redcar and Cleveland Council was scrapped this week as a cost-cutting measure; though some would argue it was politically motivated, others saw the move as an urgent and essential streamlining of management. Whatever your opinion, change at the top affects everyone down the line and can be nerve-racking. Change automatically creates uncertainty. By asking people to work differently, within different guidelines or according to different practices we are introducing the unknown element – this breeds fear and insecurity.
Events often control us and it is important we take the best from change rather than pull the duvet over our head and curl up into a ball. Working for someone new is an opportunity and a new person at the helm provides a fresh opportunity for you to grow. An old manager may have been guilty of holding you or the firm back and a new boss is just the opportunity you and the business need.
Managing organisational change well
Of course, hoping things work out doesn’t necessarily make them do so. If you have a sudden change in management in your workplace here are my top four tips:
Be smart but not smarmy
You need to remember that as far as a new boss or manager is concerned, you are an unknown quantity and have to prove yourself. In your new manager’s eyes you may as well be a new starter even though you’ve been in the role for 20 years. It’s important to make the right first impression without being a crawler. So, be professional, dress smart, and if you’ve allowed yourself to become a bit casual in the clothes department, it’s time to shape up, smarten up and strut your professional stuff again for the long term. It’s the perfect opportunity to rebrand yourself. Astute bosses will soon know if you’re putting on an act when you settle back into slovenly habits.
Deliver new ideas
If your previous boss or manager had stopped listening and you gave up trying to bring good advice to the table, now is the ideal time to deliver those innovative ideas to someone new, with an eye on your future. Helping a new boss see your value will help them make future decisions that factor you in as a valuable asset. Be proactive in providing updates on work you are conducting and always turn in projects and reports on time.
You could put together a small presentation to provide an overview of your work and to allow your boss to get to know you better. Be someone who asks questions, asking about your bosses’ priorities and then respond with the best approach to meet those goals. Be a great ideas person and keep the team moving forward—such a contribution will not go unnoticed and even if s/he doesn’t agree, you are showing you care.
It’s not time to moan about your old boss or slag off other people either (that will certainly put you in a very poor light). Instead, stay enthusiastic and talk supportively about others even if you have to grit your teeth.
Be helpful and adaptable
Remember, your boss is finding his/her feet too and will be keen to get as much help as possible to meet responsibilities and pull the team together.
Avoid being grovelling or a tittle-tattler—remember, a quiet, focused person is more impressive to a perceptive manager than an unctuous Uriah Heep. Share company knowledge, from avoiding the powdered soup in the vending machine to more heavyweight issues such as historic dealings with an important customer. Be a positive contributor with a helpful, friendly demeanour who is a competent and an engaged member of the team. Never be a crawler as it will alienate everyone around you and be obvious to a discerning boss. Instead, show yourself as a person who speaks up for and supports their colleagues.
Be transition-ready. Expect and accept change
Learning how to manage organisational change and navigate new relationships is key to thriving under new leadership and is a job skill everyone needs to learn.
Give your new manager room to manage as they see fit. Get to know their style, and be flexible and open to new ways of doing things, finding opportunities to show your ability.
At Carol Barwick Learning and Development Ltd (CBLD), I provide a range of courses and business masterclasses to ensure you and your team are the most effective you can be.
What can you do?
When organisations adapt and streamline, don’t take change personally, instead learn to manage your emotions around the change. Whether it is dealing with a new manager, structural changes to staff, or changing goals of your department, you have to manage yourself and your team through those changes. Real threats should be recognised and dealt with head-on without pretence and evasion, but honestly and openly.
Strategy and planning, negotiation skills and conflict resolution are all part of my CBLD Leadership and Management Masterclasses packed full of practical techniques, tools and tips in how to build motivation, engagement and trust at work.
I teach management to use Emotional Intelligence to build great working relationships from shop floor to boardroom and everything in between.
By the end of a half day workshop participants will be able to:
- Understand the importance of trust and how it can be built
- Use tools and techniques to resolve past issues where trust has been damaged
- Demonstrate a deeper awareness and understanding of others’ behaviours
- Use Emotional Intelligence to better understand and build relationships
- Apply NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) techniques to build rapport and communication
- Be more confident when handling challenging situations
Questions for you
Are you a new manager or team leader? Do you need some extra help to steer your organisation effectively? Are you stressed out at home or in the office? Do your staff work as a well-oiled and motivated team, understanding your business strategy and how they fit in with business goals, or do they feel isolated and kept in the dark?
Do you manage conflict fairly and effectively? Do staff follow you for the badge or the title and not the ideas you have? Be honest.
The right tools for change
My general tools and techniques around leadership and management help managers, supervisors, team leaders and everyone responsible for building and maintaining good relationships approach people using a high degree of emotional intelligence so that staff will be on board with you and listen because they know you are listening to them too.
- Defining trust
- Personal barriers to trust
- Why trust is essential in business
- Vital techniques to build trust with your team?
- Common signs and symptoms of trust issues
- The power of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)
- Emotional Intelligence – Feelings, emotions, actions and words
- Examining the impact when trust has been lost
- Rebuilding and resolving past issues
- Bespoke case studies are used to practice the tools and techniques, aid understanding and build relationships.
- Identifying patterns and habits
- Continue – more/less
- Start / Stop
Being resolute pays off in the long run
Whatever Boris plans around Brexit on October 31st, resolute planning shows strength whereas changing goalposts and deadlines because of failed or poor planning is a sign of weak leadership. Be a good boss and be resolute about change. Don’t delay.
Contact me for prompt, decisive action.