Office Politics 101: I’m being evaluated by a new boss!

My new boss doesn’t understand my job and will be doing my annual evaluation shortly. I am apprehensive.

Q: My new boss doesn’t understand my job and will be doing my annual evaluation shortly. I am apprehensive because her comments may not accurately reflect my abilities. I don’t know what to do.


A: Your concern is understandable, but you may be underestimating your boss’s ability to successful evaluate your work, notwithstanding the fact she is new to the position.

Management is relatively fluid and there will always be promotions, demotions and departures. Your situation though somewhat disconcerting, is not unusual as she will be reliant more on anecdotal information and less on observation.

Remember, too, that she almost certainly has supervisory experience, so she will appreciate the limitations of successfully evaluating your performance without the benefit of a longer time period.

She can also confer with colleagues who work with you in order to receive a broader perspective on your capabilities — their remarks will benefit her appreciation of your role within the overall organization.

You are assuming she doesn’t understand what you do for the company. Be careful with this supposition because she may have already reviewed relevant HR documents, including your position description.

She is responsible for your work performance, so I’d like to suggest she is likely more aware of your duties than you might suppose.

As well, she has no doubt been apprised of the fact that your evaluation is imminent so she may very well be paying particular attention to your work and making notes on her observations.

We all can experience stress as we anticipate an appraisal of our performance and, while this may be amplified with the arrival of a new supervisor, I believe you would still be experiencing angst at this time.

The uncertainty of what issues might be raised in an interview can be troubling but you should remember that it is an important opportunity to encourage you, not just draw attention to any mistakes or possible poor performance.

To minimize anxiety, take the time you need to be prepared for the interview.  Organize your thoughts in written form and be guided by your job description which will form the basis of your evaluation.

You could request an extension — of a few months — to allow your boss to become better acquainted with your duties but be careful not to suggest she can’t evaluate you without this extra time.

Annual or semi-annual evaluations are nearly always stressful. Your current situation is admittedly somewhat more worrying because of your new supervisor. Be confident, however, that she will be professional in fulfilling her responsibilities, and be as prepared as possible to reduce the level of anxiousness.

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