Whenever our boss resigns our shoulders drop down, there is a strange sense of helplessness we go through. It’s no surprise as we spend most of our time with our peers discussing about our boss, he or she is our favorite topic and obsession. Some of us proudly say we work for our boss. Is it fair to be overtly tilted towards one individual when in reality it’s the organisation that pays us?
I had a resignation waiting for me on a Monday morning. When I got into the reasons my colleague threw a few:
- Not enjoying the role
- Alternative career path suggested in the past are not exciting enough
- She was keen to start her own venture
- She did not see ‘me’ continuing longer in the company either
Her first 3 reasons were convincing enough, the 4th was startling; for once I was spooked, does she know something which I did not know? It turned out that it was only her hunch and she had no information from my HQ about it wanted to give her the most loyal employee award for reason # 4 and felt very proud of myself. She left me pondering over our loyalties to certain bosses over the organisation which gives us our paycheques. I am sure it does not sound strange! We relate to this ‘like’ strongly! The organisation brand, money, role, culture all take a back seat when we have to trade with the relationship, trust, loyalty we have with this individual. So what are the things we do when our favorite boss moves on within or outside the organisation?
- By following the individual if he has opportunities in his new avatar
- Quit and pick up a role in another organisation in desperation
- Create a whining club with ‘like’ minded colleagues and become a distraction to the rest of the organisation
- Constantly interact with the old boss about how bad things are after he/she has left
- Making it difficult for the new boss by being less efficient/excited with the change and by spending time on Nostalgia; eventually leading to ‘separation’ as the new boss may not tolerate this lack of ‘support’
Is it possible to remain detached to the movement of somebody who recruited, promoted, and mentored you for long? Sounds Impossible right! But sometimes it could be beneficial too! Once I got my boss’s seat when he quit :), it was a plum role, of course it only happened once in 2 decades of my work life. So my experience is not statistically significant for you to wish for your best boss to leave. I once confronted one of my friends who was moaning about his best boss leaving, he said “it’s not about his god leaving, but the jerk who came in’! I think we really become blind in our relationship that we don’t give the new person a chance. Every initiative he/she takes would be seen as an agenda against our pet ex-boss. In a career which can span 4 decades it’s impossible to work with 1 person or one company, but still we are unrealistic about our own chances of being loyal with one or few people. We ‘do’ or can adapt most of the times; it so happens that sometimes we end up showing our loyalties a little too strongly and become victims of our emotions.
In this love for the boss we miss the organization culture/context. No boss can be independent of the organization ecosystem. He or she is the product of this environment. Hence for most parts we need to find our anchor in the organisation too. I believe the organisation too has had a huge role to play to create the relationship, atmosphere you enjoyed all the while. Organisations have always been larger than individuals which will take care of these transitions. There are more people who make up the organisation than just one individual that we report to.
After all for people who struggle with this school of thought and miss their bosses; my tip is believe in yourself, your strengths, skills, abilities and track record. When you reflect on all these, I am sure you will realise how you have come through competitive schooling, won those difficult sporting events, passed tough academic exams, cleared those challenging campus interviews and comeback from multiple difficult situations personally & professionally. It’s these strengths & performances which brought you closer to your ex-pet boss than your personality, common language, religion, common tastes or the chemistry that you remember.
Let’s be confident & back our abilities, let’s be loyal to our families and careers. Like our favorite bosses who move on for their next role, we also need to take care of our interests even if it means daring ourselves to know one more person who is actually dependent on us for her/his success.
My life-jacket is my skills that I learnt through past experiences and gained through hard work. My loyalty has always been with my abilities!