My New Manager Is Driving Me Crazy!
A NEW MANAGER – OH HECK NO!
Q: I’m really struggling to adapt to some of the changes going on and my new manager is driving me crazy. I don’t know what it is that’s making me so anxious and I don’t know what to do to get past it. I don’t want to quit. So do you have any suggestions?
A: Hey, you’re not alone! We’ve all had new managers that drove us nuts because their style didn’t mesh well with ours. And typically with new managers come new changes to procedures and expectations in addition to a new style of managing.
Now, we all like to believe that we’re able to cope with major life-changing events, and reporting to a new manager can certainly feel like one.
However, we all react differently to change. Some of us bounce right back while others can be paralyzed with anxiety, apathy, denial, etc. It happens to the best of us.
Understanding why this happens can help us handle that “my new manager is driving me crazy” syndrome and become more resilient.
To overcome problems, resilient people reach acceptance of the change as quickly as possible while recognizing that these reactions are perfectly normal.
Believe it or not, our emotions react to change in the same way that we react to grief.
WHEN MY NEW MANAGER DRIVES ME CRAZY, I GO THROUGH THIS GRIEF CYCLE
Here’s what happens when you’re on this emotional roller coaster:
- Paralysis (inaction and avoidance – “no”) & Denial (this is not happening to me)
When a change is announced there is quite often a sense of numbness and denial. You try to go on working as normal but you can become locked in this stage as if the change will go away.
- Anger (I must not let this happen)
Anger can manifest in different ways. When dealing with emotional aspects of change you can be angry with yourself, and/or with others, especially those close to you. Self-doubt can creep in making you react negatively.
- Bargaining (maybe I can bargain a different type of change)
This stage involves the hope that you can somehow postpone or delay the inevitable… “Let’s try to keep the ways we currently work … things will be fine if we just keep
going …. “
- Depression (it is not going away)
This has also been referred to as “preparatory grieving”. You know that it’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty and it shows that you have at least started to accept the reality.
- Testing & Acceptance (perhaps it is worth trying)
This stage varies according to your own situation and comes with your acceptance of the inevitable. “It’s going to be okay… I can’t fight it, but it may not be as bad as I first thought.”
Whether you recognize these stages when you’re going through them, or not, you probably experience them even with the smallest of changes in your life.
It’s not until you face more major events that the stages really rear their ugly head. Since practicing new behaviors is critical for turning them into new habits, try to identify when you’re going through changes in any area of your life.
WHEN YOU HAVE THAT ‘MY NEW MANAGER IS DRIVING ME CRAZY’ FEELING, PRACTICE THE FOLLOWING:
- Keep an open mind. Don’t just assume that the results of change will be negative. Change may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
- Stay flexible. Be ready to let go of the old and try the new. Talking with co-workers can help reduce your stress and foster a supportive environment.
- Be supportive of colleagues. It is important that people recognize each other’s contributions on a regular basis and show appreciation for one another.
- Take an active role in the change process. Learn new skills, offer suggestions, set goals for yourself.
- Give change a chance to work. Be patient – change takes time.
- Remember that change is inevitable and you will be surfing on this wave of transition. Without change you would run the risk of becoming stale and unresponsive.
The challenge you’ve really gotta face is to learn to move through this wave of transition as easily and creatively as possible. Learning how to do this when change is small or minor so that it becomes almost second nature to you will increase your ability to quickly adapt to major disruptions in your life.
If you can follow these 6 tips and be mindful of how change is affecting you, life will be smoother and you’ll be able to work with your new manager and not against him or her. It’s OK if your new manager is driving you crazy. You’ve got this!
Which of these techniques will you try first? Which do you think will be easiest for you? Hardest for you?
We’d love to hear how long it takes you to move from “my new manager is driving me crazy” to “I’m learning good stuff from this new manager.”