More on the Downsized Office, “Surprise Boss”

As I mentioned in my last blog, layoffs are reshuffling people and departments constantly. Many employees don’t know what to expect from day to day, including how this environment will impact their own job duties. Flexibility is the word of the day. But when you have a newly “inaugurated” boss as a result of a downsized office, there are several steps you can take to mitigate stress.

I wrote to self-proclaimed “Jumpy” last time, who asked about such a situation. I’ll take this opportunity to elaborate further. First, realize that it’s common for a new boss to want to know more about the projects you’re working on, and to wonder just how much management you need. (This assumes that micromanagement hasn’t gone into full gear!) Besides sitting down and communicating with your new “surprise” boss about any and all pertinent issues, here are five tips to enhance your job security and career advancement:

1. Have a new employee mindset. Forget the ways that you used to or always did things, or the ways your old boss did them. Pretend it’s your first day. Ask questions and listen.

2. Watch closely how your new manager operates, and ask your peers for information about his or her working style. Observe how your boss interacts with others. Be a sponge. Remember, information is the currency of self-empowerment and a key to your advancement.

3. Be a resource. Go the extra mile and roll up your sleeves. Know that your boss and colleagues are doing the same. This economy dictates that everyone wear more hats – and so become more proactive in helping out where possible. That said, set reasonable limits to maintain your health and peace of mind – or you won’t be of any help to yourself or anyone else!

4. Know that your new supervisor is likely overwhelmed, too, perhaps as a result of assuming the roles of two or more people. The more compassionate, efficient and focused you are, the more indispensable you become.

5. Focus on work. Avoid the temptation to be distracted by, or become involved with, gossip, rumors, politics or fear. Just do good work; it always counts the most.

Big changes in the workplace or in your career are difficult to navigate at first, but if you can tough it out, better times do eventually follow.

Best regards,
Lynn Taylor