Perhaps you got your New Manager position with the help of your boss. Perhaps you inherited a supportive boss when you got your job. Maybe your excellent boss arrived after you did. However you came to work with your “best” boss, losing that person rocks your world.
When the stars line up perfectly, you have a great boss and your growth and success seem assured. You have a person who guides and directs you, supports you, listens to you, laughs with you, shares disappointments with you, and brainstorms solutions with you. You have a leader who sets your goals and career path, opens doors, shares insights, paints the future picture and provides hope. As the country song goes, “You’re gonna miss this.”
What can you do when you learn you will lose your best boss? Here are some actions you can take to keep an element of control and keep your career on track.
Download. Proactively set up time to gather important information and advice from your boss. What is the big-picture plan? What are the important projects, steps, and details? Ask for career advice relative to your company. The short term left for your boss may create a safer space to share more openly and honestly.
Mine. I have always believed that there is opportunity in chaos and churn. With some digging you may uncover new ideas, vistas or needs. There may be a promotion for you in this wave of change. Are there projects you can take over? Could a conversation be had about reorganizing your department? Discuss possibilities proactively with your boss’s boss.
Interview. Ask to be part of the interview process to find your next boss. Prepare a list of benefits to your being on the interview panel. For instance, you know the makeup of the team and the projects in process. You have a unique ability to gauge cultural fit. You deserve to be part of the process. Believe it—and ask for it.
Stay positive. As a manager, it is your job to soften the blow of the news for your team. If you admired your boss, it is likely others did too. Steer the ship through this choppy sea. Model confidence in the future, keep people focused, and provide hope.
Emulate. If your boss is someone you will remember ask yourself what made her so special. What did she do or say that brought out the best in you? How did he navigate the system for the good of the team? How did she break through obstacles while maintaining positive relationships? What made him wise? Remember and emulate the impressive characteristics, habits, relationships and style your good boss had. Notice, learn, emulate, repeat.
Losing a terrific leader can shake up anyone. If you accept and manage the new normal, you’ll survive, New Manager, and so will your team.
About the author:
Cathy Huett is Director, Professional Services at The Ken Blanchard Companies. This is the fourth in a series of posts specifically geared toward new and emerging leaders.