My new manager is European and we’re not connecting. Help!

My new manager is European and we’re not connecting. Help!

My company does a lot of rotations, which means I have had a new manager every year I’ve been here. This new one has been imported from Europe, which adds a new wrinkle to onboarding him. He’s very formal and seems to think he knows everything. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to work with him since he treats me like I work for him. Any suggestions? S.T., New York, NY

Let’s start by thinking of him as a person (“imported from Europe”—really?) and try to understand what he’s facing as a new manager in a different country. You don’t mention where he’s from but you should recognize that many European companies are much more formal and hierarchical than American ones. It sounds like he’s using the strategies that he learned and made him successful.

As you are his direct report, it would behoove you to help him adapt instead of getting your back up and assuming his behavior has anything to do with you. Why are you feeling threatened by him? Did you want the job? Are you upset that you’ve not been rotated to a different position? Whatever it is, your new manager has nothing to do with it. Figure out what you want and work towards it. In the meantime, do everything you can to help your new manager be successful. It’s the right thing to do and will reflect well on you.

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