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‘Different’ management style doesn’t mean ‘wrong’

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Question:  “Our new director wants to be 'more available by being less available.' He says we must make an appointment to meet with him, then he will come to our office at the scheduled time. His explanation is that managing our time will increase everyone’s productivity. As an example, he describes how people used to line up in front of the former director’s door, waiting to talk to her. In my opinion, the previous open door policy worked just fine. Now I’m afraid that when I have a question or problem, I won’t be able to get an answer. What do you think about this?"  —Concerned

Answer: Getting a new leader almost always means adjusting to a different management style. The key is to recognize that "different" does not mean "wrong".  

Your previous boss apparently liked spontaneous interaction, while this one prefers planned communication. Either approach can work, but the change is uncomfortable, especially if you're a more spontaneous person yourself.

Try to look at this new procedure from your boss’s point of view. Scheduled appointments will allow him periods of uninterrupted concentration.  Employees won’t waste time queuing up in the hall. And during your meetings, you will have his complete and undivided attention.

For tips on dealing with a new manager, see Strategies for Surviving a New Boss.

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