My Manager is Leaving!

You’ve just found out that your manager is leaving, and your head is spinning.  What happens now?  Who will the new manager be?  What if the new manager doesn’t like you?  Will the company take a different direction?  Will you still have a job six months from now?  Slow down, and take a deep breath.  You have some time before any significant changes will take place.  Before you panic and start firing off resumes, consider these tips for dealing with a change in management:

Don’t overreact.  It is natural to be wary of change.  You get into your comfort zone where you feel confident and safe.  A management change can leave you feeling as insecure as you did on your first day of work.  However, don’t forget that the manager is only one person.  This person leaving does not diminish the contributions that you have made to the organization, or your relationships with your other coworkers.  If the departing manager recognized your value, it is likely that the new manager will too.  

Try to see the potential opportunities.  A change in management often creates opportunities throughout the organization.  There may be tasks that the new manager would prefer to delegate, and with any changes that are made, there will be new responsibilities.  All of these new responsibilities and tasks are opportunities for you to expand your skills, and to broaden the scope of your job description.

Be a solid performer.  When the organization is in transition, there may be a temptation to slack off a little bit.  There is so much going on that nobody will notice if you take an extra twenty minutes for lunch, will they?  While it is true that you may be able to get away with bad behaviour for a little while, it will make a poor impression on your new manager, who will be evaluating your most recent performance.  A new manager will always appreciate a consistent performer.

Keep your eyes open.  When there is a change in management, it is essential that you pay attention to what is happening around you.  You may notice that the organizational values and norms start to shift.  You may also notice that some of your coworkers will absorb more responsibilities, while others will make preparations to leave.  Don’t jump to conclusions, but always be aware of what is going on at your workplace.

Give it time.  A management shift is a big change for an organization.  As with any change, it can take some time before everything gets back to normal.  When the manager first leaves, there may be a period of chaos, or even conflict.  Don’t assume that this phase will last forever.  In most cases, things will settle down, and you will be back into a comfortable routine within a few months.  Hang in there.       

Support others.  While this change is difficult for you, it may be even more challenging for your coworkers.  Take the time to listen to their concerns and to support them.  Remember that you are all on the same team, and when your coworkers are happy, the workplace environment is much more pleasant.

Keep in touch.  Make an effort to stay in touch with your manager.  Since they work in your field, and have firsthand knowledge of your skills and expertise, they are an ideal contact for your network.  In the future, there may be positions available at their new company, or they may know of another organization that has a need for your skills.

Whether working with your manager was a positive experience, or a negative one, it will be a big change when they leave.  Sometimes, after a change in management, you may feel that you no longer fit in with the organization.  If this is the case, it is probably time to move on.  However, make sure that you give the new manager a fair chance.  While it is true that things will never be exactly the same, the organization may still be able to offer you some great opportunities.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From:  Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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