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How to Manage a Manager’s Transition

Just when you've built a healthy rapport with your manager, shared your career aspirations, and are confident that your progress will be taken care of, your manager quits, is reassigned, or is transferred. You now have to reinvest your time and energy in building another new relationship. Don't panic: there are a few things you can do to make sure your new reporting structure does not harm your career.

Just when you’ve built a healthy rapport with your manager, shared your career aspirations, and are confident that your progress will be taken care of, your manager quits, is reassigned, or is transferred. You now have to reinvest your time and energy in building another new relationship. Don’t panic: there are a few things you can do to make sure your new reporting structure does not harm your career.

(Photo Credit: Nicola Corboy/Flickr)

1. Maintain a collaborative document with all your one-to-one discussions with your current manager

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Hopefully, you’ve been doing this. This is essentially a meeting notes document that you will populate during your one-on-ones. Typically, you document everything that you and your manager discuss that is relevant to your job, so you don’t have to rely on your memory or your manager’s when there’s a sticky situation. You can also easily share this with your new manager. 

2. Tap the overlap period

When your manager is moving out and a new one is coming on-board, there may be some overlap period. Use this time effectively to make sure that there’s a proper hand-over between your managers.

You can set time with your current manager to get a sense of how she is going to hand over the people part of the agenda. This is a perfectly valid request, just make sure you are being tactful in the way you approach it.

For example, you might say: 

“Hi Julie, I am really sad to see you go and I will miss all the advice and guidance you provided me all this time. I do hope we can continue to stay in touch. I also wanted to understand if I can help in anyway when you hand over information about the team. In addition to the one-to-one document that you and I share, I wanted to know if you’d like for me to set a meeting with the three of us.”

See how we added in the document and suggested a joint meeting?

3. Welcome the new manager

If you’ve had the chance to interview your new manager (some organizations do have the team assess their new leader), you may already know a lot about her and she may know you, too. Either way, try to introduce yourself in the first few days and offer any help that she may need in getting around the building, and connecting with other team members, plus administrative stuff like booking conference rooms or video calls. Be available and willing to help.

4. Set up a time to meet in person

Give your new manager some time to settle in. Once that’s done, set up a meeting to get to know her.

Share your role and the work that you’ve done, and throw in your big achievements without sounding too arrogant, so your manager knows your strengths and interests. You should also use this time to share any commitments made and milestones achieved when her predecessor was around. 

Get to know her as well. Seek out her thoughts on what she expects of the team, what her priorities are going to be and how she likes to work with her team.

5. Be open to change

When a new manager takes over, there’s bound to be some kind of change – big or small. Adapting to change is difficult, but be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

This is not just the time for your manager to establish her leadership and technical savvy, but an opportunity for you to try something new and different. Unless it’s something against your principles or the organization’s code of conduct, try your best to be receptive to her ideas and methods.

6. Document important conversations and share with her

Let’s face it, there are bound to be managerial changes, and you want to keep your new manager updated about your progress and discussions with your previous manager. They may or may not be honored, but it’s better to have some information available handy, than just to refer to anecdotes or memory.

 Tell Us What You Think

So, how did you manage your manager’s transition? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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