Nine To Five: Special to The Globe and Mail, Published Sunday, August 10th, 2014
I’ve been at my job for six weeks — and my supervisor just announced he’s quitting. It could take months to hire a replacement. What’s the best way to handle this?
My supervisor resigned because of family priorities, not because of any ill will toward the company. My supervisor and I are the only two members of our department and it’s a pretty important role, so I’m not worried that I will be cut.
Until someone is hired, I report to the chief executive officer who doesn’t have much knowledge about my department’s major files.
My role is to provide research and analysis to my supervisor, who reports to senior management.
I have good, knowledgeable external contacts who are willing to assist me. I’m mostly worried about how I can move forward on my files and show some initiative.
I’m concerned that I will lack the direction I need to move forward effectively and I will look like I’m not doing anything once my supervisor leaves.
This is an amazing opportunity for you to show your initiative. Stop worrying and step up to the plate instead. The company should inform you as to the chain of command and how you are to proceed until a new hire is made. If this doesn’t happen, take action and ask, ask, ask.
No matter what, ensure your correspondence is grammatically perfect and all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Dress and act professionally, as you may be required to sit in on management meetings or meet clients.
As for not looking like you are doing anything, I bet it will be the exact opposite. You might be required to think more strategically and be more independent.
Use your network, and don’t do work you are not qualified to do. Ask for help, assistance, guidance, ideas, and be willing to offer your perspective and insights.
Use these self-directive leadership skills to inspire your career: Initiate — don’t sit there, do something; Network — communicate and share ideas; Strategize — make improvements to department processes; Partner — expand your reach and leverage important resources; Innovate — think creatively; Recognize — share credit with other contributors; Excel — excellence breeds success, not perfection.
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It