Ask Matt

  • Article by: Matt Krumrie
  • Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • August 26, 2009 - 7:02 AM

Question: I was recently promoted to assistant manager. My boss (who promoted me), was just fired, and the new manager wants his own assistant. What should I do?

Matt: Try to view the situation from the new manager's perspective, says Joe Budnick, president of Isanti-based Jericho Communications, Inc., which provides human resources and organization development consulting services to clients who want to strengthen their existing work force. If the previous manager was terminated, there could be some natural guilt by association. The new manager may want to hire his own person so that the assistant has some loyalty to him. More than likely though, the situation has less to do with you and more to do with your past manager.

With that in mind, avoid the temptation to justify to the new manager why you are the right person for the job. Sit down with the new manager and tell him that you are there to support him. Ask him how he would like to be supported, then sit back and listen. Maintain excellent communications with the new manager to help build trust between the two of you. Be humble and trust yourself - remember you got promoted because you were the best one for the job.

"Actions do speak louder than words and the new manager will see your willingness to support him by what you do, not what you say," says Budnick.

"As an assistant, you are there to not only assist him but also to learn from him. Let him know that you are grateful for the opportunity to be working with him."

Try to avoid the anxiety of what the new manager might want to do and focus on doing the best job you can.

"You can't control what he will do, but you can control how you will perform," says Budnick. "Be yourself - if you were promoted based upon your performance, it will soon become evident to the new manager."

Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has nine years of experience reporting on the employment industry. The first Sunday of each month this column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to

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