School Business Affairs March 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MARCH 2019 33 management briefcase Strategies for getting o on the right foot. Transitioning to a New Boss By Nan Wodarz, Ed.D. O ne of the mistakes many of us make in our initial days with a new boss is thinking that we know—or taking someone else’s word about—what the new supervi- sor thinks, expects, and values. Rather than make assumptions, consider these strategies: Maintain a good attitude. The one thing we have complete control over is our atti- tude. When encountering change of this magnitude, be optimistic and positive. Although everyone else wants to lament the fact that change has occurred, you can choose to believe the best about the new boss and give the benefit of the doubt. Temper your expectations. Change is inevitable, so accept it. Your new supervisor will want to introduce their way of doing things. This is the time to be supportive and to suspend judgment. Take a wait-and-see attitude rather than being oppositional. Help decrease the learning curve. If you can find ways to ease the new boss’s transi- tion to the position and bring them up to speed on current projects, you will prove yourself to be an invaluable part of the man- agement team. Determine style. Learn the supervisor’s management style and adapt to it. The most effective way to do this is with an actual conversation to learn what they value most in interactions with others. Ask about pref- erences in management styles. Excel. Transitions can be your time to shine. Make sure that you are on your A game and that everything you do and say is polished and professional. Remember, you are only as good as your last success. Look for new wins. Learn what metrics matter. Each of us determines success in a different way. Dur- ing the first weeks with a new supervisor, make a point to understand what your boss wants formally measured, tracked, and reported, as well as what they want moni- tored informally. Determine the decision-making process. Each leader makes decisions in a differ- ent way; some delegate decision making and others micromanage. Before this issue becomes uncomfortable, find out where on that spectrum your boss falls and what exceptions might cause that process to change. Communicate. Communication is where everything works well or it all falls apart. Early on, you must learn to understand and adapt to your boss’s preferred communica- tion modes, manner (formal or informal), and frequency. Ascertain how to handle disagreements and constructive feedback. Your new supervisor might not welcome challenges to authority. They might welcome feedback, but only in one-on-one situations rather than in front of the team. Clarify how they want to handle situations in which you dis- agree with them and whether they are will- ing to accept construction feedback. Realize that it’s not about you. Some have a tendency to make sure the new boss knows how awesome they are. Your first impression should convey that you are a team player and that you are dedicated to the goals of the entire team. Starting Anew Instead of fretting over new management, embrace it as a chance to grow personally and professionally. Nan Wodarz is an administrator at Valwood School in Hahira, Georgia. Email: nanwodarz@ IRINA/STOCK.ADOBE.COM