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Thursday, November 22, 2012

When a new boss takes over your campaign team, how to keep your job

The common advice given to them is to fire everyone and start fresh.

I know that's not what you want to hear.

Many people prefer not to do that because they want the benefit of your past experience, they don't want to spend the time retraining new people. In political positions, though, more often than not people value loyalty over merit. They'd rather have someone who is their man through thick and thin, and the only way to be sure is to start from scratch.

They also prefer to fire everyone because they don't want to hear excuses about how things used to be done. They don't want people loyal to the previous boss, gossiping and spreading rumors about how things are being done under the new boss. Your new boss is in a tough position, empathize with the tensions going on in their head and you can figure out how to keep your job.

New boss' mindset:
-They want the experience... but they don't want to waste time retraining everyone.
-They want loyalty... but they also want someone who can give them honest feedback.
-They want people who will give honest feedback... but they don't want to hear "how it's always been done around here."

If it was as easy as walking in and saying "boss, I'll be completely loyal to you and only you" the first thought through the boss' head is, "I wonder how many times he's said that before, and to how many previous bosses" - you can't verbally win over a new boss. You have to demonstrate it. You have to show that you're going to be a strong and productive worker for them.

Remember, think about it from their perspective: what are they worried about, and what do I bring to the table? You can survive a major transition if you can look like a winner and avoid drama.

Here are seven quick tips to survive the transition:

1. Don't gossip. Don't gossip. Don't gossip.
2. Affirm their decisions, build them up, praise their decisions
3. Don't ever say "well, this is the way we've always done it..."
4. Work long hours, be a high producer
5. Research your new boss and try to predict what they want
6. Give them honest feedback, but always in a respectful and deferential way
7. Make sure they always know that they have the final say

Many people will do this at first, and then get lazy after the first week. They'll start going home early. They'll gossip. They'll fall into their old patterns. When that happens, watch out, a potential workplace massacre is coming in the form of firings and separations. But if you can stay disciplined and follow this advice, you have a better than even shot of surviving.

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