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How to Cope When a Great Boss Resigns

By Maurie Backman - Oct 3, 2019 at 6:18AM

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It's a bummer of a situation. Here's how to get through it.

Terrific bosses aren't always easy to come by. If your manager falls into that category, you no doubt realize how lucky you are. But what happens when your boss decides to move on? Suddenly, you're left reeling over the loss of a great leader, not to mention the unknowns that come with getting a new manager. It's a tough situation to land in, but here's how to handle it.

1. Embrace the remaining perks of working at your company

Chances are, your soon-to-be former boss isn't the only factor keeping you at your company. Maybe your employer offers excellent health benefits, a generous 401(k) match, and enough flexibility to give you a decent work-life balance. Rather than harp on what you're losing, try focusing on the perks that come with staying with your employer, because at the very least, it'll help soften the blow.

Professionally dressed woman sitting at laptop, holding her face as if shocked

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

2. Enlist your teammates' support

You're not the only one losing out on a great manager. Your teammates are in the very same boat, so why not lean on each other as you adjust to the news? Expressing the fact that you're bummed beyond belief could help you better come to terms with your new reality, especially if you can do so in the presence of others who feel similarly.

3. Be open-minded toward your new boss

Just because you're losing a great manager doesn't mean his or her replacement won't also be excellent. Before you resign yourself to being miserable in your boss's absence, ask some questions about your new boss. You may find that he or she comes with a ton of experience and glowing recommendations from former direct reports. In fact, it pays to have a little faith in your company's ability to find a suitable replacement, especially since your employer did such a solid job of hiring your beloved manager in the first place.

4. Pledge to stay in touch

Losing a great boss can sting professionally, but it can also hurt on a personal level. Before your manager leaves for good, make it clear that you're looking to remain in touch. Exchange personal contact information, and, if possible, set up some concrete plans to meet up once your boss is settled in his or her new role, whether it's lunch during the week or a drink after work. Also, you never know what opportunities may be available to you at your manager's new place of work, and staying in touch will keep those options on the table. Plus, if you do encounter some issues while adjusting to your new boss, your former manager may be able to offer advice and support from afar.

There's no question about it: Losing an excellent boss is a tough thing. But remember, the more helpful you are to your new boss as he or she ramps up, the better that relationship is likely to be. It also never hurts to respectfully loop your new boss in on the things that made your former manager so great. With any luck, he or she will be open to that feedback, and will use it to make work life more pleasant for your team on a whole.

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