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Facing a new boss after a reorganization?

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in Workplace Communication

New bosses are popping up lately, as more offices streamline staff. If that’s the case in your office, cast yourself in the best possible light—quickly. Follow this advice from executive recruiter Jay Gaines and executive coach Licia Hahn:

Make the most of the first team meeting.
“Be bold,” advises Gaines. Ask for details about your new manager’s priorities, her preferred style of working and communicating, and whether cost cuts are part of the changes. Your questions may spark others to raise their hands.

Do a self-assessment.
Ask yourself, “What skills have I been using that will continue to be valuable to my boss? And what skills do I need to be more valuable?”

“You need to be flexible and nimble in this economy,” Hahn says. “If the thing your boss needs most isn’t your favorite thing to do,” make the mental adjustment and learn to do that thing well.

Treat your first one-on-one meeting like a job interview, says Hahn. “Show the boss everything you’ve done in your career so far” and point out what you have to offer in support of the new agenda.

Ask the tough questions.
Suspect that more layoffs are coming? Hahn and Gaines recommend summoning the courage to ask whether you’ll have a job in the new organization.

Avoid the Dilbert effect.
“There’s often what I call the Dilbert effect after a restructuring,” says career coach and author Marshall Goldsmith. “People sit in their cubes and complain about how stupid the people in charge are.”

Instead, think of your new boss and those above her as your customers. Goldsmith says, “You learn to make peace with your external customers’ quirks, and you need to do the same with your internal customers.”

— Adapted from “Avoid Getting Reorganized Out of Your Company,” Eileen Gunn, The Wall Street Journal.

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