4 Top Tactics for Coping When Management Changes Hands

New boss actually might be same as the old boss, which could open better possibilities for you.

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By John Boitnott

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When management changes hands, pretty much everyone in your office is more likely to be on edge. There may be uncertainty about the future and unclear expectations. However, having the right mindset in the face of a regime change in the workplace is a helpful way to identify opportunities for growth as well as a more smooth transition of power. Consider the following tips if management is changing hands at your workplace and hopefully the change will work out to be a positive one for everyone involved.

1. Go with the flow.

A regime change is going to include some measure of chaos initially. Try not to let yourself get too hung up on the change and focus on your work. You're going to have new variables to address, but it's important to try and see these incidents as opportunities instead of daunting changes. When a new boss enters the picture, rumors might fly and tensions may rise, so try and separate yourself and your work from any negativity. Doing this will make the process much less stressful for you while the dust settles, then you can approach the change with a clearer picture of what's truly different.

Related: Ever Had a Boss Who Seemingly Thrived on Endless Chaos?

2. Schedule face time.

A management change at work will certainly entail its share of stresses for you, but the new leader is going to face several challenges as well. It's very difficult to quickly gain the respect of a new group of subordinates, and when tensions arise early under a new manager's supervision, they can easily take root and get out of hand. However, when a new boss enters a department or organization and sees a readiness to accept new challenges and willingness to adapt, it sets a far more constructive tone for everyone involved.

Take the time to schedule a one-on-one meeting with your new boss. This can be a valuable opportunity to get to know one another. This helps you understand your new boss better and can help you anticipate how much they'll shake up the usual flow in the workplace. It will also help you convey your value and place in the organization to the new manager. Starting off with open communication and making expectations clear goes a long way toward creating a positive workplace culture.

Related: Are Our Politicians Leading to the New 'Bully Boss?'

3. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Most worries about a new boss stem from individual concerns about employment status and job responsibilities. Employees may naturally wonder if the company is going to replace more people or if things will change drastically. When you get the opportunity, ask the new boss direct questions (framed respectfully, of course) about where you stand and what is expected of you. If your job responsibilities are going to change, or if the new manager expects things done a certain way, it's best to convey a willingness to learn and adapt rather than passively reacting to change.

Asking forthright questions about your position and contribution to the organization also helps you establish your value to a new boss. Think about what is most stressful about the change and address these concerns. However, take care that you do not appear overly anxious, desperate, or suddenly looking for a new job in the face of change. It's important to convey your value to the organization and commitment to your work to the new manager. Appearing flighty or easily overwhelmed by change won't help make a good first impression.

Related: 9 Things Managers Do That Make Good Employees Quit

4. Be willing to change.

You may not face much change in your daily routine with a new boss, or your work life may be completely upended. Regardless of the outcome, it's important to embrace the changes and accept the new reality of your work. Things may be rocky at first, but a transition of power is going to be far more complicated and painful if you refuse to adapt. "Sticking with what works" isn't always a viable option and may wind up alienating you from the new boss.

You may have to unlearn some long-held habits or shake up existing processes to accommodate a new power structure, but these aren't inherently negative things. Look for opportunities for growth, but it's also wise to cultivate other options just in case. There are those who say you should always be spending a bit of time searching for side gigs so you have additional streams of income in case of emergency. A new boss may also be a sign of bigger changes to come, and you may suddenly find yourself looking for a new job without much warning.

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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