It's all very well revelling in the downfall of your superiors, but the demise of a boss can be a nasty business, says our man on the inside.
Banking gets a lot of stick for its excesses but there are few markets that are so egalitarian. If you're worried about your job right now, you can bet your bottom dollar that your boss and your boss's boss are too. Seeing your boss walk the gauntlet might be strangely pleasing. But it's a dangerous time for you too.
In my experience, the first thing most new bosses do is figure out who they want around them. In one instance, within six months of taking on a new role, a senior boss had reduced the number of her reporting lines from 18 down to 10 and within those 10 three were completely new. In other words, more than half of the group of individuals reporting in to the previous boss had to find new roles.
What should you do if you find yourself in this situation? Sometimes, there will be nothing you can do: I was once hired into a role only to find my boss replaced after two weeks. I was new to the organisation and the replacement boss had no idea who I was. He wanted to make a fresh start. I was left to drift with no contacts and had to find a way to justify my existence - but more on that in the next article.
Given the choice, your best bet will be to make yourself indispensable. I recently saw one banking colleague deal with the new boss phenomenon like a pro. It helped that she was truly the engine room of the team - she had all of the information, understood the personnel dynamics and held key client relationships that she was willing to share with her new boss.
Unsurprisingly, she was well positioned, not only to keep her job, but also to act as a guide to the new boss.
Compare this to another colleague, who lasted approximately nine months following a new boss's arrival. It didn't help that he had a horrible reputation and only held his position because he was 'protected' by his previous boss. He was given the opportunity to change his behaviour and failed to do so. If only he'd been sufficiently savvy, he would have realised how vulnerable he was after his boss's departure, and made sure he changed his ways.
Oh and by the way, if you had any kind of positive relationship with you ex-boss - maintain it. He or she may have gone for now, but that doesn't mean they won't be back when the market turns.
Tips for nurturing a new boss
· Take a position: have a view on what was and wasn't working under your previous boss, but express both negative and positive points constructively and non-emotively - it will make you look smart, informed and a team player.
· Don't bitch: don't bad-mouth your previous boss, least of all to your new boss - it will undermine trust.
· Be busy: focus on doing an excellent job - it will make you look like the engine room of the team.
· Don't brown-nose your new boss - hey, its simple, no one likes a brown-noser.
· Don't complain: your life sucks? So does everyone else's. Don't let the new boss know - it will make you look like a team energy sapper.