Liz Reyer: Your new manager has no idea who you are. Here's how to fix that

Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Business News

Q: I love my job, but a big reorganization in my department has put me under a new manager who has no idea what I do or how to help me. It's a discouraging situation. What should I do?

Tabitha, 38, manager, customer experience

A: Choose not to give up.

Change can be hard, and it can feel especially challenging when you are not in the driver's seat. However, trite though it may sound, you do choose your reactions. Let this be your source of empowerment.

Think about how you cope with change in general. You may be in the habit of being somewhat defeatist about it, expecting the worst. Not only will this limit your adaptability, you will have way less fun in your life. Or, if you are generally excited about change, consider why this one may be hitting you more negatively.

How much do you know about your new manager? If they are new to the company with this reorganization, they are probably a blank slate. If they have been with the company a while, you might have some direct experience or have heard things, positive and negative.


One way or another, you've drawn conclusions that they won't be a good manager for you. To turn this around, look for ways this situation can work for you.

Consider what you expect from your manager. Their job encompasses both management and leadership tasks, ranging from assigning tasks, training, maintaining quality, mentoring, removing barriers, and ensuring a good quality of work life for their team.

Among these roles, are you expecting your manager to know exactly how to do your job so that they can explain all the details? If so, keep in mind that as you move up in an organization, this is less likely to be the case.

Moreover, the challenges you face will become more about leading and managing, so having matching technical knowledge should not be as important. Their ability to help you learn to navigate, organize, and inspire is far more valuable.


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