Unless you are the owner, we all report to someone at work. Even the CEO of the organization reports to a board of directors. When told there will be a change in who you report to, how do you feel? Does this excite you or panic you? If we are honest, most admit panic sets in. It is a change that has a significant impact on your life.
If someone said your parking spot at work was changing, it may cause aggravation but unlikely would it cause you panic. Yet, who you work for has a major impact on your engagement and enjoyment in your job. Why? Job engagement is less about money and benefits, even though these are nice, and more about leadership, leadership, leadership. If you are a leader today and don’t understand this, then wake up or you won’t make it long as a leader. Who you work for controls the work you do, but more importantly they create the environment in which you work.
A change in reporting relationships brings the unknown into the workplace; and most of us hate the unknown. Whether or not you loved who you previously reported to or not, you had figured out how to work with them: You had come to learn what they liked and didn’t like, and you knew where you stood with them. A new boss means having to “prove yourself” all over again to a new person. Instead of thinking about the positives, like this could be better in so many ways, we tend to assume the worst.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen people who had what appeared to others as the perfect job. They had it “all” from resources to great pay, but they hated their job because of who they worked for. I’ve also seen employees who had a job no one else would want because of their wages and working conditions yet they loved their job because of who they worked for.
The best leaders are the ones who take to heart what we read in Philippians 2:4, “not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” They care about what’s best for those who work for them. While your supervisor cares about what is best for the organization, he or she is also considering what is best for you.
Here are three tips that I have learned from experience, on both sides of the situation, to help you through this process:
1) Please be yourself; that’s who I want to get know as a supervisor.
2) Don’t be defensive when you are asked questions.
It usually shows in your body language. As a new supervisor my job is to understand how things work, so accept that there will be questions. The more defensive you are makes me wonder what else I’m not hearing, and it makes me ask more questions, not less.
3) Be open to doing things differently; don’t resist change. The new supervisor will have some new ideas and over time will make changes.
Dale Kreienkamp is the author of How Long, O Lord, How Long? Devotions for the Unemployed and Those Who Love Them. He is a Human Resources executive and consultant who has experienced a personal journey of unemployment twice when both positions were eliminated in organizational restructuring. These personal experiences created a desire within him to help others impacted by unemployment through inspirational devotions. Dale is also an active volunteer at his home church and leader in his local community.