Is there anything more unsettling than having to prove yourself to a new boss? And for good reason…researchers at New York University Stern School of Business found it takes less than 30 seconds for first impressions to form and the average American worker will encounter 10 new bosses in her career. In just a few moments your new boss can size up what he or she believes to be your competence, likability and trustworthiness. And once a first impression is made, it’s hard to fix: the phenomenon is called the “confirmation bias” — meaning every interaction after the first impression is used to justify your boss’s original opinion of you, whether true or not.
So what should you do if confronted with a new person in charge?
1. Within a few days of her arrival make a short appointment to introduce yourself and your job role.
2. Ask the new boss how she prefers to be communicated with: e-mail, phone or in-person.
3. Be open to new managing styles. Ask your new boss if she prefers to be abreast of all the nuances of the projects you’re working on or only when there’s a problem.
4. About 90 days after your new boss has taken the helm, ask for a review to see where you are on track and where you may need improvement. You could be surprised at the critiques a new boss has for you and catching them early enough will allow you to turn them around.
5. Leave the comparisons behind. Whatever you do – don’t mention your old bosses management style (good or bad) to your new boss.