When Your New Manager has a different working style to you
December 18, 2015
When you have a new Manager and they have a very different style of working to you this can be very challenging. Especially as the chances are you had no say in their recruitment . In this situation there is often little you can do to influence things and it’s a case of making the best of it. Things may not be all ‘doom and gloom’, however, and there could be some real positives and learning in the situation. Someone with a different working style will think and do things differently and this could open up a whole new learning and understanding for you.
When I have been in this situation I have endeavoured to be very welcoming to the new Manager, to be friendly and help ‘show them the ropes’ of how things work. Aiming for them to see that I’m a co-operative and friendly colleague, and only too willing to help. Aiming to ‘get off on the right foot’ with them and see things positively. I like to believe the best of people.
Remember it’s good to be prepared for your work taking longer at this time and it’s always best to avoid gossiping about what you think of your new Manager behind their back. Remain professional at all times.
If they want to introduce new systems and ways of doing things, I’ve encouraged them to see how we do things at the moment first so that they know our current systems then see if things need to change. But if they want to go ahead and change things straightaway it’s their call. When their changes go well I have congratulated them and been enthusiastic, perhaps we needed a fresh eye. When changes have not gone so well I have commiserated and congratulated them for trying, cutting them some slack.
As time goes on if things are really not going well between you perhaps now is the time to level with them, to say you are not happy and what you think needs to happen. Use ‘I’ statements and own your feelings. Be honest and kind with your feedback.
If all else fails it might mean you have to go to their Manager to discuss the situation with them. Before doing this, however, let your Manager know what you are proposing to do then at least there are no surprises. This in itself might trigger a more helpful response.
At the end of the day there are some Managers who are never going to want to listen but just want to ‘bulldoze’ their way in with their ideas and ways of doing things. If this is the case and they aren’t listening to you, and their Manager cannot help, you might want to try workplace mediation if this is something that your Company offers. It’s an egalitarian, empowering process that be very effective if used early enough and it also has the advantage of being confidential and the details are not part of your work record. It has an 85% success rate too!
If mediation is not available this might be the time to reconsider your position. If your experience and expertise is not being respected is this job really working for you? Maybe this is life’s way of saying it’s time to move on.