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.
Taking the time to reflect on what you really want out of your career and creating a plan is important. In a new column for Fast Company online, Scott Blanchard shares an exercise he uses with career planning.
It’s called “backward planning” and it begins by imagining where you would like to be in 10 years. Where do you see yourself? From there, you move backward to identify where you need to be in nine years, eight years, etc., to ultimately reach that 10-year goal. In Blanchard’s experience, taking a minute to stop, look around, and think about where you are going can help you identify the moves you need to make right now that will get you one step closer to where you want to be.
In addition to taking a “backward” approach to future career growth, Blanchard also recommends that you think through a four-step checklist to make sure that you have the resources you need to set yourself up for success. He uses the acronym PLAN to help make it memorable.
Where are you headed?
When was the last time you took a break from the day-to-day to see what direction you are headed in? Do you have a plan in place for your career success? If it has been awhile, here are four ways to get back on track.
P stands for People and Praise. Find people you can discuss your career with. Reach out and surround yourself with people who will give you support, honest feedback, and encouragement along the way. Who can you add to your career development team?
L stands for Learning. Open your world and identify resources that will keep you growing. Look inside your work world by exploring online courses and other training and development opportunities. Look outside work for special experiences that can broaden your horizons. What’s a new experience you can add to your resume?
A stands for Assessment. Assess your current strengths, weaknesses, and value in relation to your career possibilities. Are there gaps in your current skills or experience that need to be addressed?
N stands for getting past No. Design strategies for dealing with negative situations such as rejection, obstacles, or failures. Few careers proceed exactly as planned. Failure isn’t fatal and setbacks will occur. How can you build resiliency into your plan to help you learn from negative experiences and move forward?
Take some time to evaluate where you are right now. The most successful people maintain a focus on the present and on the future. To read more of Blanchard’s thinking, check out the Fast Company online article, The Wisdom Of The Two Steps Forward, One Step Back Career Plan