My boss just quit

Boss quitQ:  I think the handwriting is on the wall for our group because my boss–recruited from outside our firm to grow the business –quit today.  The business is failing, correct?

A:  No the handwriting isn’t on the wall. Turn your attention from the obvious conclusion to incorporate the realities of your corporate culture.  Consider the following:

  • What is the tenure and/or success rate of senior leaders who come from the “outside”?
  • What actions did you take to help your boss be successful in the new environment?manage up
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how well did you know your boss?
  • What are the metrics that indicate that your business is “failing”?
  • How is your contribution being measured? Tracked?
  • Who are your key stakeholders?  What input have they provided regarding your career?  The future of the business?

Remember that although a boss’s departure may seem abrupt, it rarely is a big surprise. I have noticed two distinct stages: thinking about quitting and deciding to move on. Thinking ranges from considering current options to doubling down and making the situation work.  However, once decided it seems that people literally and figuratively are no longer engaged—they go through the motions.

Now, looking back, what did you notice about your boss’s behavior that will make you more adept at reading the handwriting on the wall next time?

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