Nothing can be more unnerving when a senior manager or head of the company decides to quit. It’s completely natural to experience feelings of uncertainty about what this means moving forward. After all, when the person was “steering the ship” there was a sense of stability and certainty. News that the boss is leaving is normally out of the blue and can leave you with questions about what that can mean for your own professional future. So what are the best steps to take in order for you, and hopefully the company, to succeed?
This advice might come as a surprise but in order to not over-read the situation, it is best to keep doing what you are best at and that is your job. Think business as usual, especially in the short term. Don’t let the departure of one influence your performance negatively. Definitely avoid gossiping or speculating on the subject with co-workers and clients alike. Alternatively, if you are relieved to see them leave, keep it to yourself. It’s unprofessional and will make you appear insensitive to your colleagues. Hierarchy will be reshuffled and it would be wise to discreetly take advantage of this notion. Let HR know that you’re willing to step up if needed.
After the announcement is made, ask the right people what the next move is. Talk to your most trusted and relevant superiors about the plan moving forward. Hopefully the nature of the resignation is not out of the blue and immediate, in any case, preparation is key. This is where you fill the void and assist with keeping the morale high. Look out for people who are feeling nervous or unsettled, reassure them by relaying the direction of the company. Remind them that the new boss could be just as good. Tell them and yourself to be proactive and schedule a meeting with the new boss so you are up to speed on their vision and expectations.
Of course, it is important to know if its time to leave. The boss’s departure could signal an organisational shift or restructure that could negatively impact on your career plans. There could also be a silver lining for some people with this change. A restructure may offer up opportunities for redundancy and a payout.
It can take some time getting used to the new boss and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. If its not clicking, stay on top of future opportunities elsewhere and remain in control of your own destiny.