So, lucky you, your dream job has materialized. You have just snagged a promotion, transferred to your dream job at your current firm, or started an exciting new job at another firm.
But it is dawning on you that your new boss may dislike you or now has second thoughts about hiring you?
Does your new boss call on other team members but pretend not to notice or hear your contribution? Or worse, your boss dismisses your responses? Do you worry that everyone is catching on that every interaction with you brings out the worst in your new boss? Are you baffled since your boss appears to interrelate well with everyone else on the team but you?
Fixing this problem requires courage and self-evaluation. Here are a few things to consider before setting up a meeting with your boss:
1. Are you a transfer from another team or a new hire? Then re-read the job description, especially the soft skills required. Were you previously paired with talented teammates? Your new boss may think that you consider the new team a downgrade.
2. Are your well-thought-out questions at group meetings viewed as an attempt to overshadow the team? Do you interrupt or correct team members at meetings? Does your boss make no eye contact with you at meetings? That is a reliable sign that they do not trust or feel connected to you.
3. Does your new boss believe your last few projects were lightweight or used dated technology, so they are unwilling to discuss your ideas or input in a group setting?
4. Set up a one-one meeting with your manager. Ask future-focused questions to show that you are not complaining but attempting to improve your working relationship. When a legitimate misalliance is mentioned, acknowledge it with a sentence starting with, “From now on, I will do X.”
5. Address competency questions, and engage your manager regarding the areas you can improve and the type of communication they prefer.
6. Try not to interrupt. Active listening will signal that you believe the conversation is safe and interested in change. Your boss will naturally begin to feel more comfortable with you.
Be calm and matter-of-fact in your explanation of your concern. Consider borrowing credibility by associating with others who already have your boss’s trust at the meetings, and forgo starting arguments.
As you work on your relationship with your boss and invest in your relationships with your teammates, your boss will likely notice your effort. And above all, remember that great working relationships materialize over time, so be prepared to put in some work and give it time.