Q. I am feeling rather anxious about the arrival of our new chief executive. Any tips?
A. When a new leader takes over at any organisation, there is bound to be a fair degree of discussion, gossip and speculation. Some members of staff will be feeling excited at the prospect of change and the opportunities this might bring. Others might have mixed emotions or will be concerned about how their positions will be affected by this new arrival. Your own anxiety could also be exacerbated if you have not met the person - or perhaps even if you have!
Let's start by looking at why you are feeling this way. Are you concerned about job security? Will the chief executive restructure the organisation? What if you and the boss don't get on with each other? What if you don't enjoy working there any more?
Then there could be concerns about changing the status quo. Will you have to work in new ways that you don't like? If you are being honest, are you worried that you might have to work harder? Or that you will no longer have the favoured position you had with the previous incumbent? And, heaven forbid, might this new person like open-plan offices with the result that you have to give up the prime office you have worked so hard for? Have you heard rumours about a working style you don't feel comfortable with? Or maybe you just did not click when you met as part of the interview process?
With all these issues going round in your mind, anxiety is only to be expected. That said, people who know they are good at their jobs usually feel energised by the thought of a new arrival. A restructure brings with it the opportunity for promotion or new responsibilities. There is a new leader to learn from, new ideas to grapple with and new challenges to face. And if the worst comes to the worst, it is the chance to move on to an even better job elsewhere.
Demonstrate your strengths
You will have the best chance of making the most of this situation if you spend some time considering your strengths and how you are going to brand yourself with the new chief executive. Think about how you can best demonstrate these strengths.
Perhaps you are the only person on the team who is always prepared in meetings, always contributes to discussions and always delivers. Are you the person who always has an interesting insight or unusual observation? Do you have a better network than your colleagues? Or are you the maverick who livens up the team and gets away with things because you are so popular?
Put your efforts into making this new relationship work. If it pays off, great. If not, there is a big new world out there that might turn out to be even better.
Valerie Morton is a trainer, fundraiser and consultant
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