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Admin Pro Forum

What do you do when the best manager ever leaves?

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Question: "For the last eight years I've been working with a terrific boss, and she just told me she's leaving for a new job. What's worse is that I know her replacement, and things are clearly just never going to be the same. How do you cope when you suddenly meet a reality like this?" - Bronwyn, Providence, RI

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mia November 15, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Well, when my boss told our entire department he was leaving, I thought my career as I knew it was going to change (and not for the good), but I was wrong. I learned to embrace the new manager who happened to have been promoted once my boss “retired.” This turned out to be the best thing, not only for me, but our entire department. We always hear “Change is good!” but most of us ((if we are honest) do not think this way and most times we are good with the status quo. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable when our environment changes. I am so very glad that I stayed and took the mindset that I would support and assist my new boss anyway I could to ensure he succeeded in his new position. A decision I do no regret. I hope whatever decision you make, it’s the best one for you.

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Patricia Robb November 2, 2018 at 8:58 am

I went through this as well. There is always the option of leaving and finding something else, which was what I decided to do. I committed to a year to make the transition smoother for the incoming CEO, but after a year I started actively looking and found something else. In retrospect, it was the right decision for me. I had been there seven years and learnt so much from my previous boss, but it was time to move on. I am now in a position that I like (no, it’s not the same as when I was working for my other boss), but it is just what I need until I head into retirement. It all depends on what your needs are.

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Susan November 1, 2018 at 6:21 pm

I’m sorry to hear that someone you have enjoyed working for is leaving. Change can be stressful, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. I would encourage you to keep an open mind, though, because the replacement may turn out to be different and better fit than what you anticipate. Sometimes people rise to the challenge when faced with a new opportunity and become good leaders/managers. I have had the experience of hearing negative things about a new boss from my co-workers, only to find that the new boss was actually a great fit. There is an article in the October 2017 issue of Admin Pro Today which addresses your very question. Good luck with the new situation!

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June November 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Well, when a wonderful boss told me he was leaving, the first thing I did was find a private place and I cried. As you stated, clearly things would never be the same. Life has “seasons” in it and change is inevitable. However, what matters is how we react to the change. I got out my book by John Maxwell titled The 360 Degree Leader and refreshed my memory of it. We are all leaders, our attitude matters and can affect the entire team or department. Just because it won’t be the same doesn’t mean it won’t be good. Approach the new leadership with the same excellent attitude and work ethics that you had with your favorite boss and the new boss will appreciate it. The new boss has huge shoes to fill and may have their own feelings to deal with on the matter. John Maxwell has many books that you may want to take a look at to help you through, but the bottom line is – you have the power to make or break the situation. Whether it was my approach to my new boss or he was just awesome, my situation turned out very well and I am totally happy with my new boss. I still miss my old boss when I see his signature on a document or come across an issue and I wish he was there to advise me on. Sometimes I even cry because, you see, he didn’t just leave for a new job – cancer took him from us. Perspective is everything – which will you choose?

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Carol November 1, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Jessica and DeeDee make valid points. I just went through a major change also. A shared position between two departments with very different management personalities became a full-time position with one of them who was very laid back and easy to work with. Then he retired and our new department head was someone who was hired outside of the company with formal experience managing a large team. It upset a lot of people I work with but my attitude was – new leader, new management style, new chapter for the company. Once she started working she seemed to go with the flow of things too easily. That is when I reminded others that this was the “honeymoon period” and that eventually her true style would come through. For our department, that happened about 6 weeks after she started working. It is different, more structured, but I welcome the change. And it looks like others in and outside of the department are accepting her as well. I don’t miss the former manager. As an Administrative Assistant, it is my attitude that my job is to make my supervisors/bosses look good. If the work environment becomes unacceptable and problems can not be resolved properly, then I am no longer trainable or useful for the company and it may be time to find a different job.

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Melissa Hunter November 1, 2018 at 4:19 pm

No two people are alike, so of course nothing will be the same again. Doesn’t mean it is not going to be just as good in a different way. There is no guarantee that your manager will remain the same throughout your career. I have had some really good managers and some really poor managers and can advise that you have two options. You can look for a new job with an unknown person. Or you can decide that you are going to make the best of the situation and learn to work with the new manager. It’s up to you how you choose to approach the change.

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Carol November 1, 2018 at 4:39 pm

Great point, Melissa. And why should we expect that our managers should remain the same? Their staff/employees can change throughout their career because of career advancements, relocations, major life changes, etc.

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Jessica Doyle-Rudin November 1, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Change is never easy, no matter what form it comes in. However, as Administrative Assistants we have to adapt to change no matter what the circumstances are. I would work on figuring out what your new boss’ needs are and her personality. Make the necessary changes to adapt to her working style.

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DeeDee November 1, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Rather than pre-judge what your new work experience will be like working for the new boss, try to find some ways to connect with them and make their transition smoother. Perhaps they will be appreciative and your transition will also be smother then.

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Trisha Heil November 1, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Cry!

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