Supervisor Change

We experience change in our work environments both when we ourselves initiate it and when others around us make changes in their own lives. Sometimes the impact on us personally is small and at other times, the ripple effect has a significant impact on how we go about our jobs.

Last Friday afternoon it was announced that my immediate Supervisor has accepted a three-month promotional assignment; she’ll be assuming an acting role of Manager at an office in an adjacent city. Now I’ve been fortunate to have the benefit of her leadership and guidance for the last 8 years. That’s a fair stretch where I’ve come to know what she expects from myself and my teammates.

Today is her final day with us until one day in January of 2016 when the assignment is over and she returns. Big deal or not? Well, yes it is. Now first and foremost I have to say that I am thrilled for her and truly happy she has been given this opportunity and seized upon it. What a great way to try out the position and see if it is something she would like to aspire to in a permanent role.

I’m also glad for those at the other office location because they are going to benefit from her mentorship and guidance. She’s what I call an employees boss; her focus is always centered on how she can best improve service to our clients by improving how we the staff deliver it. She puts me and my teammates in positions to succeed; gives us the necessary tools to do our work, listens to our wants and needs, and gives us all the benefit of her experience. She really is going to be missed over that three-month period.

Now the second reaction I had, and almost just as immediate was, “Wow, how is this going to affect me? Who will replace her?” Is that a selfish thought? Absolutely, but not in a negative way. When someone in a role directly above you on the organizational chart changes, there has to be a corresponding change upon those within that new persons realm of authority. So sure, it’s natural to think about whether the incoming replacement will go about things much the same or not.

Where you work, if you have had a change in Supervisor, did you have someone come in and manage your team with the same leadership philosophy? Often that’s a good thing if the people on your team are productive, happy and work well together. If the general perception is that the team needs a shakeup or wakeup call, sometimes the incoming Supervisor might be chosen specifically because they will move the team in another direction, expectations will change, how the work will be delivered will change. Staff might be roped back in if they’ve exceeded their authority, or given greater latitude in some cases if they’ve been stifled.

With such a relatively short assignment it is unlikely the person arriving in my case is going to change much. In fact, my Supervisor has made her wishes clear calling upon us as a team to mentor her incoming replacement. It’s up to us to show her why we are such a great team, how we deliver our services with care for the betterment of our clients experience. In short, she wants the incoming Supervisor to really get a first-hand glimpse of the team and be impressed. After three months, when the new Supervisor returns to her job at another office, she’ll not just have good memories of the time, but she’ll encourage others to refer their clients down to us in greater numbers because of the positive outcomes we achieve with those in our mutual care.

I have had enough Supervisor’s over my work life to appreciate my current one for the wonderful person she is. We both employ a Servant Leadership model on a daily basis. She’s good for me, and I hope I’m good for her. I am satisfied that she knows how I feel about her because over the years I’ve made it a point to tell her face-to-face how much I appreciate her as the best I’ve had. After all, when you have someone in your work life who truly makes you a better employee and improves your skills and broadens your way of thinking, why wouldn’t you thank them and acknowledge how much you appreciate them?

Now ironically, it’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. Ironic because I’m reminded to be thankful for what I’ve received at a very time I’m losing something. Yet thankful I am. You see she instructed, mentored, entrusted and believed in me while my direct Supervisor, and now she continues to mentor me and my teammates by showing us that we too have to evolve, consider other opportunities and grow.

Why not look at your own boss and tell them now while you have the opportunity just how much you appreciate them. Find something to be thankful for and let them know. Don’t wait until it’s their exit party to write, “you’ll be missed!” on their card. Telling someone how much you appreciate their support and guidance is a skill like any other and it’s just a nice thing to do for someone else.

Feeling happy for her today and really wishing her the best.


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