One of the most powerful effects on your experience of work is an amazing boss. So losing that boss can feel…pretty awful.
So what should you do when a beloved boss moves on?
My first reaction is: you never know what you’re gonna get. For all you know, the next boss will be just as wonderful!
My second reaction is: Have you put your name in the hat? If you’re interested in the position, go for it! You’ve got the relationship. Take advantage! Have your beloved boss put a good word in for you before they leave. Help prompt them on your greatness so they help put your best foot forward. Ask them for pointers about how you can look better for management. Seek to understand language, or expectations, or the kinds of challenges they face at their level so you understand what talents are really needed. Even if you don’t get the position, you will be looking your best when you meet the new boss.
If they’re already gone and you’re not eligible for or interested in their old job, ask them why they’re leaving. They might love the company and have an offer they can’t refuse — or they might suggest that this company is not the best, and you shouldn’t plan to stay long term. Whatever it is, get the insight. Plus, if you know what that new boss is going to walk into, you can better prepare for how to can support them. If you can think about how you can be of value to the incoming boss, you’re instantly forming a bond, and setting yourself up to be the guy/girl on the inside who knows – the “go-to person.”
Losing a beloved boss can be a grieving process, and as odd as it may sound, I encourage clients to go through the grieving process. There will be emotions and loss and fear and anger. That’s normal. AND, every change can be an opportunity – make the most of yours. After all, there are lots of amazing people in the world, and though you may love the person who is leaving, your may feel just as positively about the new person coming onboard. Simply choose how to engage.