Peaceful Transfer of Power

After election night, this always comes to mind for me. It’s one of the things that makes our country great. No paramilitary coup, no gunplay in the streets. Some distasteful media moments, for sure, but that’s as bad as it gets. And we have a shift in power or a new leader virtually overnight.

Today’s news brings a story of a mild “uprising” in the conservative ranks (albeit one that was bankrolled by the GOP). It’s a clear signal that we want change (again), right?

Regardless, my intent is not to write about politics in government, but more about politics at work. Most of us have lived through upheaval in the workplace, either on our own leadership team or higher up. It’s a tough transition all the way around, but there are a few things you can do to help ease through the change.

1) Don’t take it personally. The change isn’t about you. (Well, maybe it was, but then it’s not likely you are sticking around for the fallout.) The shift has taken place, and your reality is now different. You still have a role to play. Put personal feelings aside and get to it.

2) Take one (or two) for the team. Your role may be different. Don’t waste time complaining about it. Jump in and do the job. Learn from it. Build your skillset. And execute all day long. When there is a change in leadership, the new regime needs people who can contribute. And there is always room on their team for someone who can change direction without losing momentum.

3) Your outlook may be a bit bleak. Maybe you think the change will cost you in terms of career development. Maybe you were a key player for the outgoing leader. Maybe you have history with the new leader, and it’s not terribly good. The bad news is you probably don’t get a say. There’s not normally a vote in choosing leadership. The good news is, though, you don’t have to stay. You may not have the luxury of leaving your job without notice, but you can sure start working your network and contacts. As I mentioned yesterday, “not unhappy” is not OK. If you can see the train headed your way, get off the tracks.

Change in leadership is an opportunity. Whether it is an opportunity to enhance your position internally or to prepare to move on is largely up to you.

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