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Your Office Coach

Are these the sins of a bad manager–or just a weak communicator?

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Q: “After our former boss was promoted, his ‘favorite’ became our supervisor. As a co-worker, ‘Gina’ never tried to be part of the team. She seldom discussed her projects and only participated in activities that allowed her to work with senior management. She somehow managed to delegate the mundane work to others.

“Now that she’s the supervisor, Gina avoids chatting and doesn't even say good morning when she arrives. She just keeps her head down, walks straight to her desk and gets to work. If she does talk, she’s usually complaining about the other supervisors.

“I recently told my previous boss that I’m not optimistic about this management change. My former teammate cannot help me develop into the leader that I want to be. What should I do?” Discouraged

A: Like it or not, you would be wise to accept this new reality. Management obviously felt that Gina was the best person for the job, and her promotion is not likely to be reversed. If you are openly critical of this decision, you risk being labeled a “difficult employee.”

You might also stop to consider that this transition is undoubtedly challenging for Gina as well. If you succeed in your own leadership ambitions, you will quickly discover that people do not magically transform into effective managers overnight. So perhaps you should cut her a little slack.

Although Gina could certainly improve her interpersonal skills, your complaints seem somewhat trivial: She works independently, dislikes chatting, gripes about colleagues and enjoys interacting with executives. Those are not exactly grievous sins. The simple truth is that you just don’t like her very much.

You are correct in assuming that a new supervisor is unlikely to be a useful leadership mentor. But since Gina did manage to get high-profile assignments and interact with senior managers, she might have a lot to teach you about how to get promoted.

Have a new boss? Here are some tips for getting off to a good start: Surviving a New Manager.

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