Hostile Work Environment Definition
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10 Steps of Walking the Plank Toward Termination: Step 2 You Have a New Supervisor

Note: If you missed Step 1 in this series you can read it HERE.

If a new supervisor takes over your department, brace yourself.  New supervisors change everything, and employees HATE that.

What you need to understand is that it is unthinkable to a new supervisor to not change everything.  A new supervisor feels like they need to PROVE that they were the right person for the job.  How do they prove it?  By making changes.

It doesn’t matter to your new supervisor that everything was working just fine, thank you very much.  Your new supervisor is going to make changes for change’s sake.  Your supervisor believes that their changes prove that they are making their mark, shaking things up, raising the bar, blah blah blah.

In your new supervisor’s mind, this is now their kingdom, their way of doing things, their staff, their leadership style, and it’s purpose is to demonstrate to the world that they are awesome.

If you are a man, image a new coach of an NFL team.  Is he going to bring in his own staff?  Is he going to run his own plays or the old coach’s plays?  The new coach is going to completely revamp everything and install his own system.  If the team then wins more games, it will prove that the coach and the coach’s way of doing things are better than the last coach, and the new coach gets all the credit.

What do you call a coach who doesn’t change any systems, uses all the same people, and follows all the plans of the former coach?  A place holder.  Coaches who change nothing are merely “place holders” in between the really high caliber coaches.  You know, the ones with “vision.”

I’m not saying your new supervisor is supposed to see themselves this way, or that it’s a good thing.  I’m not saying that you should accept all these changes; not at all.

I’m just trying to explain what’s going through your new supervisor’s mind.  This really is how they see themselves.

Now, my own spouse and my own mom don’t care much for sports analogies.  Some women do (which is cool), but to women like my spouse and mom, sports analogies just doesn’t make sense.  So I’ll use another example that won’t apply to all women, but might be more meaningful than a sports analogy (can you tell I’m trying hard to not be discriminatory?).

Pretend for a moment that you just bought a house.  Your new house is in a slightly better neighborhood, and is slightly bigger than your current house.  After you sign the loan papers and get the keys, you are free to make any changes you want.

Are you going leave all the same wallpaper that the previous owner put up?  Will you keep the same odd paint colors that the previous owner chose?  Are you going to arrange your furniture in the same pattern and places that the old owner put their furniture?

Of course not!  You want to leave your mark on the house, and make it into your home.  You want to “make it yours” by choosing your own colors, arranging your own furniture your own way.  What would you think of someone who moved into a house and didn’t change a thing?  You’d probably think they were incapable.

And that’s what your new boss is afraid of — appearing incapable of doing the job.  Being capable of doing the job (in their mind) means doing it their way, with their people, in their style, and measuring everyone according to their scale.

Again, I’m not saying your new supervisor should do this.  I just want to warn you; they will do it.  They actually believe that their success or failure as a supervisor depends upon whether or not they change things around.

A new supervisor means new standards, new procedures, new priorities, and probably more new faces.  Also, if you really got along well with your old supervisor, getting a new supervisor will be especially hard.  Your old supervisor knew you, trusted you, and let you do the things you are good at.

Your new supervisor doesn’t know you, doesn’t trust you, and wants you to do the things that will make him or her look good.  And those tasks may NOT be the things you are good at.

If you start to feel or see this kind of conflict, beware.  Especially if you’ve had a few run-ins with your new supervisor, and then he or she begins referring fondly to people from their former organization.  If that happens I guarantee that your new supervisor is thinking about bringing people from their old company over to the new company, your company, and giving those people your job.

New Supervisor = Warning, changes on the way

New Supervisor + Conflict = Red Alert, discipline on the way

New Supervisor + Conflict + Comments about former coworkers = terminations on the way

Have you ever dealt with a new supervisor, or seen one change everything — even though the old way was working?  Tell us about it in the comments section!

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