Workplace Doctor: a new boss, and with change comes opportunity
I work in retail and have a new boss who has decided to restructure my department completely. His new measures include dividing my job into three new posts. This effectively sends the message that I was doing the work of three people. I also have to apply for one of the three posts with no guarantee I will retain my position. I am slightly put out by this change and wonder whether to resign and leave or take a “stiff upper lip” approach and just get on with it. JB, Dubai
Ah, isn’t change great – at least I think so. With new bosses comes new perspective, possibility and vision through fresh eyes. You have been clearly operating your role in a business environment that I would refer to as “what is”, and your new boss is currently making decisions for a future environment or “what can be” – one for which I believe he has high hopes.
You state the new leadership has split your role into three separate positions. There are probably many different interpretations of what that could mean:
a You have indeed been performing the role of three people
b The new leadership sees the need for more concentrated efforts in certain functions
c Customer feedback demands this to happen to move towards service excellence
d One of many other choices.
No matter how good you are, you don’t know the future as he does. So why are you guessing the reasons for this split? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you simply asked the question as to why this is happening? You may just be surprised what you learn rather than feeling disillusioned by it all.
I hear your concerns about having to apply for one of the positions. If it were me, I would be jumping for joy, because this is such a great opportunity to put yourself up in lights against new incoming staff. The new boss has probably heard of your efforts and most likely met you briefly, yet I’m sure he has no idea of the magic that lies within you. Do be sure to ask for the job description and possibly even the person specification before constructing any application. By doing so, not only will you gain further insights into the priorities of the leader but also be able pick and choose your preferred area. Those tips should help draw attention to your strengths.
A great advantage I see you have from being an internal candidate is a chance to customise your application to suit the “operating system” or corporate culture of the workplace. If I was hiring, and you showed me both technical capability as well as knowledge of and support for the company way, you’d be sure to progress straight to my shortlist. As retail is a changing industry, why not also show your innovative side to selling while you are “selling yourself” for the position. Pique your boss’s curiosity in you by having some art work or personal logo created, a video animated, or a sales audio file recorded through fiverr.com to sell the benefits of hiring you, just as you pique the interests of your customers.
JB, to put it bluntly, you can choose to be a victim or victor in this situation. A victim would say “oh, this isn’t fair”, try to claim an additional salary and attempt to spread rumour of unfair treatment. This behaviour would surely strike you off my shortlist if I was the interviewer. Alternatively, you can embrace the opportunity, capitalising on all the inside knowledge you have and march to the head of the queue. What’s past is past; you cannot influence it. Why not look at the future with renewed vigour and anticipation?
Choose your response wisely. Acting as if you are “put out” will ensure you are indeed put out – of the front door.
Debbie Nicol, the managing director of Dubai-based business en motion, is a consultant on leadership and organisational development, strategic change and corporate culture. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Workplace Doctor’s advice on your challenges, whether as an employee, a manager or a colleague