Deal With Stress

How to Deal With the Stress of a New Boss

Resolving-Frustration-in-Your-LifeThere’s nothing quite like the stress of a new boss to turn your world upside down. One day you’re doing great in a job you love, praised and appreciated by a boss you respect; then suddenly you may find yourself reporting to someone who wonders why you’re taking up company space.

It doesn’t matter what the cause is. Your beloved boss could have been promoted, or your company could have been sold, resulting in massive upper level layoffs or reorganizations from the top. Whatever the reason, the stress you feel can be enormous. You have no idea where you stand, and are pretty certain you’ll have to prove yourself all over again.

Breathe deep, and reserve judgment until you have the facts.

The first thing you will probably feel is a sense of loss. You are going to miss your old boss and the working relationship you had, and it is okay to admit that. Rather than let that loss cause you stress, be grateful for all you learned from your old leader’s guidance, and how much you’ve grown in your job.

If you have never met your new boss before, or know little of her background, don’t start to panic over imagined outcomes. Find an opportunity to thank your old boss, and if you hear a heartfelt, “you’re going to like her,” about his replacement, then you know things will be okay.

If your old boss can’t provide any insights, it is important not to listen to gossip about the change. Gossip only causes more stress and anxiety. Focus on your inner capabilities, take extra care to meditate or do calming exercises, and reserve your opinions until you hear from your new boss directly. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Understand that your new boss might be as apprehensive as you are.

I’ve been on both side of this situation, multiple times. So, I can tell you your new boss may also be a little nervous about meeting new subordinates, especially if there are a lot of you. She will want to appear competent and worthy of the position, but also to assess how to best smooth the transition from one leadership style to another. If your new boss values positive work relationships, she will probably take steps herself to put her employees as ease, relieving a lot of workplace stress for everyone.

Take some time to fully understand what your new boss expects. How does she like things done, how does she prefer to interact with her employees? Honest communication right away will help you avoid a lot of future stress, and smooth the way for a solid working relationship.

Before meeting your new boss, be well prepared, so you remain confident and calm.

When you meet your new boss for the first time, you want to appear friendly and competent. So it is important that you release your stress before the meeting starts. If your work environment is well organized and your work projects running smoothly, the more confident you will feel about your abilities and the contribution you make. Add repeated moments of deep breathing and stillness throughout your day, and you will be calm and ready to welcome whatever comes.

What if your new boss really does turn out to be a nightmare?

I am sorry to say, it happens. Sometimes your new boss is everything you’ve ever worried about, wrapped up in one awful human being. Oddly, this type of boss may not make you feel stressed right away. Instead, you may only feel stunned, or irrelevant. So, if you find yourself working for a dragon lady or an insensitive thug, you need to build up your internal resources, and fast.

You may feel a lot of stress trying to make this person happy. Or you may feel stress if you realize your work environment is no longer somewhere you want to stay. That second kind of stress, however, allows you to make decisions, and decisions give you power. Making new decisions about your future is so powerful, that you may physically feel the stress subside and new inner strength appear.

Take time to be centered.

Meditation or centering prayer can lead you to a better understanding of your heart’s desire, and give you guidance on what actions you should take. You may choose to talk with your Human Resources department about a different position in the same company. You may decide to explore a new career, or you may decide to wait it out, in case this boss moves on.

Calming, strengthening exercise like yoga or tai chi can boost your inner confidence, and remind you that how resilient you are. Music and healthy food can nourish you and remind you that you have a better role in life to play.

Even bad bosses give us something to be thankful for. If you are already a boss yourself, you’ll be a better one. Or you may be inspired to move up and become the kind of leader you wish you had. Bad bosses can be stressful, but they are not something we can’t overcome.

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