When managers leave

When a person in a position of power leaves, there’s always unrest. When the individual is well loved, there’s reluctance to see them go and apprehensions of what is to come. When the exit is desired by the masses, there’s hope that things will change for the better yet fear that at least he was a known devil. It is pretty much the same for everyone – be it a manger in an organization or a political leader of a nation.

This post comes fresh from the heart because just yesterday an automated reply stating that ‘I no longer work with XXX organization’ from my manager’s ID caused much sadness. Good managers make saying goodbye really hard. They do this in two ways:

  • They create an environment where you want to put in discretionary effort
  • They take a genuine interest in your progress

When they leave, not only is there a drop in engagement levels, there is also an apprehension of one’s own future progression. Under such conditions it becomes extremely important for the skip level manager to step in and make the team feel like he’s always there and reachable. This should be coupled with increased interaction and genuine interest in the team.

A good manager would have prepared the team well enough to function without him. He would have also invested effort in making sure the person who is stepping into his shoes and the skip level is well aware of how the team works. This makes our job easier.

Where do we step in? As partners to the business, it becomes our responsibility to be able to identify such teams and coach the managers. Transitioning is always difficult. We can help both, new managers and skip levels, avoid some critical delays and errors. A little hand holding (coaching) goes a long way.

When was the last time you coached a manager to help him step into the shoes of a recently exited leader?


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