When You Love the Old Boss and Hate the New
New bosses are troubling when the old one was great.
You loved the old boss. So what? It doesn’t matter. Resist the new to your own peril. Comparing the new with the old is self-defeating. Keep preferences for the old boss to yourself, always.
What if you disagree?
The way you express your viewpoint matters more than your viewpoint. Disagree in the wrong way disconnects and shuts out. Disagree in the right way adds value.
Attitude controls receptivity more than content.
Resistance and arrogance:
The worst thing to do is pull back and slow down when you hate the new boss.
Disagreement is arrogant resistance when you aren’t pulling your weight. Tossing suggestions from the bleachers irritates those struggling in the pit. Longing for the old days is disloyal. Get busy before opening your mouth.
Sweat tastes like credibility. Breath from big mouths stinks. “Shut up and put up.”
Leaders open their minds and hearts to those fully engaged. Hard work from you feels like support to them.
Skin in the game:
Disgruntled cowards sit on the sidelines making suggestions. Get skin in the game. Put yourself on the line. Things look different when you’re sweaty and in the pit.
Respect is earned when you stand-with rather than aloof.
Nothing to lose means nothing to add.
Action trumps talking. Earn a hearing with sweat and support.
Knowledge in the head vanishes when feet hit the road. If only we knew as much as we thought?
Learning and humility begin suddenly when talking stops and action begins.
What does supporting new leaders look like to you?
Supporting the new leader involves learning/ unlearning and humility. Certainly, you have stuff you can teach the new boss about how things run in “your” shop, but you must also take the time to watch, listen and learn. We must remain committed, open and receptive to new ideas, new ways of getting things done and making progress for the company, the team and for ourselves.
Love the term “unlearning.” It’s harder than learning!
The old boss has ways of doing…perhaps the old boss had learned to trust you and given more freedom… the new boss needs a chance to learn to trust too.
The new boss does need a chance to learn. Leaders are not perfect, but we sure do judge them like they are.
Martina, I can tell you are really smart, because we had almost the same answer 😉 It must be true!
Supporting new leaders for me is 5 fold:
1. I ask myself, “How can I help the transition?”
2. I offer my assistance to the leader, and offer “how I can help.”
3. I ask where he needs help.
4. I reserve judgement. (Everyone needs time to succeed.)
5. If I disagree fundamentally, I move on without taking the ship down with me.
Thanks for the thought activation this morning!
Brilliant.. thanks Todd
You and my Mom think I’m brilliant. That’s a good start.
“Sweat tastes like credibility” love that! The other thing I have seen is when the old boss secretly likes this…. and may even fuel it. Very destructive.
Thanks for the good word, Karin. Thanks also for bringing up a real challenge… the old boss got promoted but still lives down the hall…that can be challenging.. 🙂
It reminds me of advice I heard once for newly married men who have a mother who stays involved. “Go with the one who sleeps in your bed!”
This is a great and practical post.. thanks!
I got a “new boss” after an “old boss” I had been around for about fifteen years .. the old boss and I understood one another at a near intuitive level. My Old Boss did something I thought hookie at the time but proved very valuable.. because he would still be an occasional presence as Board Chairman, He performed a sort of exit interview with the Staff, reminding each of us he would no longer be our boss and did not want to be brought into day-to-day matters of the company (that was job of the new boss!) We even signed a document acknowledging such – he signed it too!
(With me) The new boss started off on the right foot by thanking me for hiring him – I had been part of the interview process 90 days prior.. I said “old boss and I have been together a long time, I’m expecting you to develop some new skills in me.”
We started with a tone of mutual respect and humility and enjoyed great years together – by the way he was NOTHING like old boss, and I really grew under his leadership..
It is natural tendency to appreciate past. It carries a good memories. Generally we look for new boss when we fed up with the old one.But we are not sure whether the new boss will be better or worse. But in most of the cases, we say that new boss is worse than old boss. This is what I have seen, learned and experienced. I appreciate your point- talking vanishes where action starts. I also believe that this is the point where fakers get exposed. And leadership trait is recognized.
I believe in supporting leaders. The simple logic to get support is to support others. Leaders are leaders because of others. So, others are equally important. And others should keep supporting. Leader should also feel and believe that he is because of people. I think, organizations can place leaders on the top but unless people accept him as a leader, he is not a leader. Therefore, a true leaders is concerned about getting moral and psychological support of his people and colleagues.
when you get a new boss, your job becomes “make him look good”
In many cases, that is exactly what’s needed, hard as it may be when you initially don’t like the person. You might have to figure out how to do that, what the new boss’s style is and what that means to your own work load. But I’ve seen that employees who are dedicated to the whole picture (I’m not just working for this manager but the company, and I want the company to look good and do well) will try to adjust and do that.
While there is an undercurrent of the odd human nature to resist change, when it comes to our leader, it reverberates more strongly. There is of course that fear of the unknown, of unpredictability, of ‘what if’…what if I have to prove myself to him/her and I don’t measure up or s/he does ‘it’ too differently? Ken’s point of starting with a discussion based in mutual respect goes a long way. And because I am pretty certain that we cannot predict the future, who is to say that, in spite of your initial reaction, that the organization won’t grow and do better. Whoever hired your leader probably did not do it by thinking, “let’s hire someone who is going to trash this organization.”
At the same time, given that we ‘loved’ the prior leader, how to reconcile that change and perceived loss. It might be helpful to recognize and appreciate all those traits, skills, connections that your prior boss had with you and endeavor to build similar (but not the same) connections with the new leader…partially in honor of your past. Plus it was probably a very positive connection, so why not re-establish some of those processes and rituals.
Bottom line, it’s not about you and it’s not about your boss(es), but it is about those you serve. If you are ‘frictioned’ with the new leader, that may be a good thing, unless it is negatively impacting your service, your product, your customers.
Great insights from others on this, thanks all!
A major problem with some transitions is opposing management styles. The old boss could have been a trusting hands-off delegator who set that company culture. The new boss will be resisted if he is a skeptical hands-on meddler. It won’t work. Construction Author-www.joeegan.com
Great read. Really enjoyed the post. I agree that in times of change there is a tendency to sit and reminisce on the good old days. Especially if your prior boss was a great leader. However, the show must go on and we must approach new situations with an open mind and heart. We must be flexible and adaptive. Trust must be established on both sides of the playing field. I do have a question however. What would you recommend if the new boss is completely incompetent? I recently experienced this and felt the need to get out of the group as soon as possible. Trust could not be established and the new boss showed now signs of wanting to learn. They wanted to lead the group in an old school manner, giving orders unwilling to get in the pit and get dirty. After a promotion I find myself in a better position but continue to hear horrible stories about what the group has become.
Very well written, I am going through this now. Two shops merging and a way different style of management. Change is very difficult at times.
No trust…No long term future…Eagles fly
Joe Egan-Construction author-www.joeegan.com