Workplace bosses have a unique position they hold in the career lives of their team members. The awesome ones take time to build and mentor their teams in a way that can never be compensated. They leave a positive imprint in the hearts of those who work under their leadership.
Every employee hopes to work with a good boss for the longest time possible. It is a satisfying experience knowing that you have a great boss. However it is equally important to realize that just like any other employee, bosses too have career plans and may leave you one day to pursue greener pastures somewhere else.
Despite knowing that the boss might one day leave, we are rarely prepared for the unforeseen situation of him/her being fired and suddenly vacating the office. This is a situation that will definitely cause some hung-ups in the team.
As an individual it’s important to know how to handle this situation without sabotaging your own career.
Your awesome boss being fired could come with some psychological disposition that need be handled carefully.
1. Don’t panic
What did my boss do? Did he/she have to be fired? Could I have been the cause? Is it about the bad client feedback we got as a team? Could it be the failed budget target? Are we safe as a team? Would I be on the firing line as well?
These are real difficult questions that will be going through your mind when your boss suddenly gets fired from his/her role since letting go off a good boss is a difficult experience.
Stress and anxiety could be the hallmark of this sudden departure. However its critical to realize that whatever happened is at an individual level and if the leadership had anything against you, then you would have been fired as well.
The boss’ departure is obviously not a good event to you and the team but do not make it worse for yourself by being a nerve wreck.
2. Avoid office gossip and negative talk on the exit
News about your boss being fired will spread in the office like wild fire. People will be dying to know exactly what happened. This creates room for speculation and gossip which will be damaging to the image of the boss and the team as well. It can equally trigger panic and anxiety.
Avoid every kind of negative talk in the office. Do not feel obliged to respond to every Tom, Dick and Harry concerning the situation.
When you find yourself in a “gossip centre”, just excuse yourself and leave. This will be a key moment for you to handle yourself professionally and many will be watching your steps and listening to your every word keenly.
3. Don’t take it personal
It’s normal to feel let down either by the fired boss or the company. You will ask yourself many questions which may never get any response. Just remember it happened and no matter what, one day the boss would still have left.
Don’t look into the situation selfishly. The best you could do at this point is to offer a strong support to your departing boss and create a positive impression. Let him/her know how your career was positively impacted by his/her leadership. This would be the biggest thing he/she desires to know or hear at that point in time.
4. Rise to the occasion and hold the team together
Sudden firing and departure of your boss could spell the beginning of a long tough journey for the team. Many years of team work and team identity could get eroded very fast.
This will be the time when you need to rise to the occasion and hold the team together either by encouraging them or simply playing your role as you ought to. Remind your team members that people come and go and the situation at hand should not blind them from the bigger picture.
Be there to empathize with the team. Mourn the loss together and arise together to soldier on as a team.
5. Stand out and be noticed
Every storm has a silver lining. It takes the wise person to figure it out. No matter how shocking the situation is, this could be an opportunity for you to showcase who you are to the senior leadership and the whole firm. Your boss had been a buffer between you and the rest of the firm and now he/she is no more. You have direct visibility to the leadership, use it well, make your valuable contribution and presence obvious.
People will be taking a close look at your team so make sure the change is smooth. This will give you the chance to steal some limelight and let the senior leadership know how important you are to the company. You should make good presentations and arrive early to work. Show how positive you are as a person. That will make a difference.
6. Find out the how previous incidences have been handled
Organizations are different thus they handle issues differently. It is important to know how cases of that nature have been handled previously if any.
Certain organizations would prefer to have a slow clear-out of the whole team under the fired boss. This could turn out to be the first responsibility of the new boss to be hired. Other firms would never mind having the team proceed with “business as usual”.
This understanding will help you plan accordingly. You will know if you need to start working on your exit strategy or to concentrate and give your best to the organization.
The worst you can do in such a case is bury your head in the sand and assume all is well. Be proactive to understand your organizations’ precedence in such matters.
7. Re-adjust and be ready for a new boss and new work style
Every boss has a unique way of doing things including the leadership style. One of the thing that causes stress to the team members when a boss leaves is the uncertainty of a “new sheriff in town”.
Once you confirm that the team will not be affected by the boss’ exit, it’s then important to talk to self in regard to the new boss (that is if you are not the one taking over). You should prepare yourself for a new way of doing things. Be ready to offer unwavering support even when you do not fully agree on certain matters.
Prepare you mind to accept the fact that change is coming and you should be a positive part of it.
8. Plan an exit strategy
If your investigation confirms that previous cases of bosses being fired affected the teams’ stay in the firm, then it will be prudent to start planning your exit early. Do not wait until when you are summoned and asked to put in your resignation.
This could help you have a smooth transition to your next employer of choice
Always be prepared for the unexpected at the workplace.