Given the today’s rate of organizational change, it’s quite likely that your manager today may not be your manager tomorrow. This situation can be frustrating if you felt like you were just getting traction with your last manager and now she is gone. So much of today’s career advice is about the importance of teaming with your manager on your career development, and it’s easy to feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under you when your manager moves on.
Whether it’s due to company growth (or downsizing), acquisitions, mergers or other factors, the reality that your manager may have changed once (if not several times) over the past year or two can make managing your career more challenging, but also offers opportunities.
First, realize that your manager’s move may not be a bad thing, in the sense that if she knows about you and likes your work, you now have another potential advocate elsewhere in the organization or perhaps in a different company. Of course, this will only be of help to you if you maintain a relationship with this person. Find an excuse to reach out and touch base periodically. Ask her how the new job is going and keep her posted on you and your team’s progress.
Make an early positive impression on your new manager. Establish a connection. Find the time to get to know her and find out what her priorities are. Position yourself as someone who has ideas, can solve problems and be of value. You may find that a new manager gives you considerably more freedom and opportunity to “take the reigns” since she may be overwhelmed with the new role and might welcome the offer of help.
Be proactive in sharing your development goals. Share them with your new manager; be clear about what you were working on with your last manager and where you’d like to continue focusing your efforts. Leverage your Human Resources contacts. Make sure they know about your career goals and interests. They might be able to help you find other ways to gain visibility and grow your skills. Be consistent in your messages about your career goals, and ‘advertise’ these as widely as possible.
Be the best team member ever. Develop strong collaborative relationships with your peers. Help your team out, find ways to make decisions and keep things moving regardless of whom your manager is. Establish your leadership credentials with your team.
Develop your relationships with your manager’s peers and other senior levels. Position yourself as someone who can step in and run things if needed. Keep others informed.
Finally, stay positive. Keep in mind that management changes are not the end of the world; the key is to diversify your relationships and not be dependent on one person for your career progress.
If you follow this advice, watch out, the next manager might be you!