Stick around in an organization for some time and it’s likely you’ll go through a change in Supervisor as those around you retire, get promoted, change jobs etc. When that transition happens, you’ll find yourself having to adjust to the fact you’ve got someone new at the helm providing direction.
Depending of course on your relationship with your previous boss, you may be looking forward to the change with great anticipation. On the other hand, if you were fortunate enough to have a positive relationship together, you may be finding the situation has you happy for them but a little disappointed or perhaps sad yourself. Nonetheless, change is afoot through no action on your side of things so you’d best mentally prepare yourself for the change over.
Early days in a relationship – and yes this is a working relationship but a relationship just the same – should be something to look forward to. The new boss wants to get off to a good start, will take some time to get to know all their staff personally; how they tick, what motivates them, their strengths, areas upon which to improve, how they communicate with others, work ethic etc. You as the employee are also adjusting, finding out what the supervision style is of this new Supervisor, learning their expectations, how they communicate and lead, where they’ve come from and how ambitious they may be to excel.
This phase is often called a ‘honeymoon’ period; things are pretty good, it’s getting to know this person and them you, in how you both will interact. Now while in a marriage you most often join because of a mutual desire to set up house together, you could argue this is more of a shotgun affair, having this new person thrust on you whether you like it or not. Why though start this relationship thinking negatively or with suspicion? Go with this a positive thing and a fresh start and your attitude might do you a world of good.
My team is in this stage right at the moment; our Supervisor retired 3 days ago now, and our new Supervisor starts on Monday. Now fortunately, the new boss is a former colleague of ours, and my assessment is that her head and her heart are both in the right place. She’s intelligent, compassionate, fun with a great laugh, but serious when she needs to be and its been my experience that she’s someone who wants what’s best for the people we serve. This is her first Supervisory role, having been successful in a recent competition.
New Supervisors have their own style and it may mirror or contrast with the approach their predecessors used. It might not be fair to hold a person just starting out up against someone who retires with a history of leadership, but it’s inevitable that employees will compare the two moving forward. Listen for it and in the early days there could be conversations among employees on a team going through a change that comment positively or otherwise about the style of the new vs. the old.
There will also be comments that refer not so much about comparing a previous boss with the new, but speak more to the values held by the new Supervisor. “She doesn’t respect the experience on the team does she?” or, “I like the fact she’s taking the approach that we’re all here to support and help each other.” I think it’s safe to say employees always like to feel valued and appreciated for what they give, and hopefully when you go through such a change, your incoming boss recognizes your skills and experience.
The thing to remind yourself of however is that the selection of the person who now leads your team reflects Upper Management’s direction. So supposing a new Supervisor were to come in and shake things up, you’d be well-advised to realize that they are likely doing so with the approval of their own boss. Is it the direction they’ve received to lead similar to the person before them or to tighten things up, instil some creativity and innovation, realign people to new roles or maybe even weed out some dead wood?
Look, you can worry yourself and stress about the changeover; be suspicious and cautious about how much you trust this new person. You can decide to give them respect only if they respect you first, hinder their early days and spread discontent among your peers. Conversely, you can accentuate the positive, welcome them sincerely and help them get off to a good start by doing the work you’re paid to do with some enthusiasm. Either way, you’re going to share the same workplace, so how do you want to be perceived? How you get on together in the beginning will set the tone for your ongoing relationship.
In some workplaces, you might have had a briefing by upper Management advising you of the plans they’ve got, the need for things as they are or maybe an opportunity to overhaul, move people around all at the same time etc. Then again, it’s well within their purvey to act without full disclosure to everyone on the workforce. You’ll find out when deemed proper, such as the first team or individual meetings.
Look on the bright side, you’ve got a fresh start, and in this case, so does my team.