Here’s a note from a reader with a career question:
I just learned that I’ll be getting a new boss at the end of the month – someone from outside the company who doesn’t know me. This is a good thing, because, frankly, I’ve made some bad choices in my current job and I think my professional credibility has taken a hit. I’ve made some enemies . . .my once solid work relationships have suffered. How can I start off on the right foot with my new boss?
There are times in our career when we screw up. If we’re lucky, we’re working for a leader who believes in redemption. But sometimes, a string of bad choices morphs into a bad reputation, if left untended too long. Your instincts are right to want to make reparations and to set a positive tone with a new leader. First of all, you must repair relationships with the people (the “enemies”) you reference above. Possible ways to address this:
- Meet privately with individuals who you believe will be receptive to an apology. Say, “I screwed up. What can I do to make things better?”
- Start every day with this promise to yourself: “I will make choices that keep me in integrity and build positive business relationships.”
- Pay attention to how people are responding to you after you’ve made the apologies – are those who were previously “cool” to you now “thawing”? Be sure to express your gratitude for giving you a second chance.
In tandem, you can do some things to get ready for your new boss’ arrival – see my Huffington Post article on New Boss? Six Steps to Starting Off Right. When you meet with the new boss, be upfront: let him/her know you are working to improve some challenges you have been experiencing. No need to go into great detail (someone else probably already has!); just acknowledge that there have been shortcomings and you are committed to working through them. A few final thoughts – forgiveness can be very difficult for people. Don’t expect everyone to sing your praises right away. It may take awhile to redeem yourself, depending on the severity of the “choices” you have made along the way. With luck, your new boss will see your sincere efforts to improve and will give you the chance to do so. Image credit:bloomua / 123RF Stock Photo