Gone! My favourite boss, ever!

Filed in MUNICIPALITY by on February 27, 2018

Okay, so your favorite boss EVER, has been recruited away by another municipality. Suddenly, your world seems turned upside down, because, the next thing you know, there’s a new player in town. The problem is, you know next to nothing about this new individual, except that something has changed.

The new CAO does things differently. His personality is not the same. She doesn’t seem as approachable! His likes and dislikes are different. The trust you shared with your old boss is now met with questions like, “Why do we do it THAT way?” You and your colleagues are nervous. Everyone seems to be walking on eggshells while they try to figure out the new CAO.

Part of your reaction, of course, is purely resentment. “She hasn’t been here as long as I have! I know a lot more about this municipality than he ever will! How dare she question what I’m doing?”

Another part of your reaction is also fear: “Is he going to make changes? Am I safe? Does she trust me? Is he going to figure out that I’m not as smart as others think I am? And how soon will that be?”

But there is also a part of you that’s just plain sad. Sad, for the loss of the way things used to be. Sad, for the loss of your former boss. Sad, that all your hard work and accomplishments may have lost their significance, or be forgotten altogether.

I miss the way it used to be!

And of course, you and your coworkers all believe you need to quickly get on the newcomer’s good side; after all, who doesn’t want to be a favorite?

These are the common work-disruption scenarios that play out in all workplaces, all the time. Whether it be a boss-change, a departmental reorganization, or a new reporting structure – even an election. Most of the time, you feel completely helpless. You weren’t involved in the decision, but you’re now thrown into what seems like utter chaos.

For many people, the change is just too much. Some might be too set in their ways. Others might feel bumped out of their comfort zone. If it’s not handled well, the combination of anxiety, fear, sadness, anger and frustration may lead some to immediately begin searching for a new opportunity.


But there may be a silver lining in that Storm Cloud! When change results in a major disruption that affects you deeply, there is also a genuine opportunity for growth.

Do you honestly believe your new boss is simply a power-hungry, tyrant, with no skills or talent for their new job? Stop, and put yourself in her shoes. It’s highly likely she’s also experiencing some similar feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and fear. It’s also VERY likely that he’s looking for trusted partners to help him, not naysayers who are trying to undermine him.

But it is important to recognize that the emotions associated with change are real!

Reacting to change is quite normal, although everyone deals with change differently, and at different times. Initial feelings may range from helplessness and disorientation, to anger and sadness. Ultimately, there’s a great opportunity (and adventure) awaiting you as you work through the disruption and figure out ways to position yourself as a trusted partner and team member. You need to make certain you set your sights on the same goal of success as your new boss and, ultimately, the organization.

Look for ways to have open and frank discussions about the changes that are occurring – with your team, your co-workers and your new boss. You may have to adjust your thinking, but if you’re open to doing that, you may find new ways of seeing things.

A change in your approach to your work may be in order. Your experience with the municipality, and understanding of how things work in your town, can be helpful to a new CAO, and really help with the change that is occurring. Wouldn’t it be great to become part of the plan right from the get-go? Sometimes during big disruptions, you’ll feel as if you are giving up your own power or sense of ownership relating to your job or assignments, but in fact, if you keep an open mind, and genuinely approach the change with a sense of new opportunity and adventure, you should experience new growth, as you gain fresh insights, develop new skills, and take on new responsibilities!

Don’t fear or try to stop change – become a contributing part of it!


Bruce Malcolm

About the Author ()

Bruce's background includes 30+ years of human resource management experience covering all aspects of HR administration with a clear specialty in team building and recruiting. He created and developed the concept of “Ethical Head-Hunting™”. Bruce began his recruiting career in 1971 with Prudential Assurance.

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