WHPRMS June Blog: What to expect when you’re (not) expecting

Everything is going great at work. You’re doing your job, pushing projects out and keeping your clients happy.

Then you get news you didn’t expect: Your boss is leaving.


In 30 to 90 days you will have a new boss. Maybe you welcome the news. The work was getting stale or the environment was toxic and it’s a chance for a fresh start.

If you liked your boss and the relationship was perfect, the change may be hard.

I’ve been in both situations. My advice is not to take the news lightly because change is inevitable. I encourage you to look at it as an exciting growth opportunity.

Take some time to consider…what will your boss want to know about you?

They might wonder…is this person…

–Going to help me or hinder me?

–A solid player or a work-in-progress?

–Happy or dissatisfied in his or her job?

–Working on short-and long-term goals or living in the here and now?

–A creative thinker with lots of ideas and talent or stagnant and uninspired?

–Facing obstacles or breaking down the barriers?

–Being underutilized or over titled?

–Accomplished or inexperienced?

My advice is to do an assessment of yourself. Maybe ask a trusted co-worker their opinion. What do they see? Use the information and start developing a game plan with actions steps for addressing any shortfalls or negatives. It’s never too late.

Starting off on the wrong foot

Above all, don’t badmouth co-workers. I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty. A former CEO once confided to me that he received an email two weeks prior to his arrival from a staff member complaining about another member on the team. She wanted her job duties and was going to try convincing him early on. When the other staff member learned of this, it naturally got messy. Needless to say, both co-workers were quickly re-organized out of their jobs.

Starting off on the right foot with your new boss will take work, no doubt about it. You want to create a strong first impression because that will set the tone for the coming years. Here are eight things I recommend you work on before and during the transition period:

–Define success with your new boss and align your goals with their goals.

–Help him or her achieve early wins.

–Help identify roadblocks.

–Stretch yourself and your creativity.

–Model good behavior.

–Concentrate on your work and building the relationship.

–Listen with intent.

–Communicate with purpose to all staff members.

Helping your boss during the first few days

Check out this timeless article: “How to succeed with your new boss.”


Mike Wiltse is Associate Director of Journey Mental Health Center.