How can you tell if your leadership position may be in jeopardy or you may be at risk of losing that position? There are four signs that typically show up when someone’s role is danger of being eliminated or replaced.
First, you may begin to notice that you are being excluded from things where you once were included. For example, there may be project teams or strategic planning meetings you once were normally a part of and now you are not invited to these meetings or perhaps finding out about them after the fact.
Next, you may start to notice some of your responsibilities are decreasing; not your typical job responsibilities but the extra tasks or project teams you once led are no longer being assigned to you. An example of this may be that someone else is leading an annual strategic review team or a new business development team that you once led.
Another sign that your leadership role may be at risk is you are not getting as much exposure as you once received. Perhaps you once were your boss’s back-up when he or she was out of the office and now that responsibility is given to someone else, or perhaps you are no longer attending higher level meetings in place of your boss as much as you once were or being called on to present to senior leadership teams as much as you once were. These are all subtle yet important signs which you should take note of.
The most obvious sign that your role may be in jeopardy is a decrease in your performance rating. This is usually the very last sign and often happens after the other items already noted have been occurring, which is why you want to pay attention and notice when things begin to change. Ultimately you want to try to address the first three items before the last sign of the decreased performance rating appears.
If you notice these signs and are concerned that your role is in jeopardy you want to take some actions that either help you improve your performance in your current role or perhaps look for a new role.
First thing you want to do is remind yourself that you are in control of the situation. No, you cannot control whether or not your leaders or your company decides to eliminate you or your role but you can control what you do about the current situation. So #1- Remember, you are in control.
Second, you need to decide if you want to try to improve your situation where you are; that is, you like your company and what you do and would prefer to stay there. If this is the case, you must take initiative to approach your boss, someone in HR (or whomever is the appropriate person in your company) and share what you’ve noticed. Share the signs you’ve seen, what you’re concerned about and what you want to happen. For example, if you’ve noticed you’re not included as much as you used to be and not getting as much exposure as you once were but want that type of inclusion and exposure back, articulate this. And then ask for input from your boss (or HR or whomever you are speaking) on what you need to do to get back to where you once were and even beyond where you once were. However, I always say, “before you ask the question, be sure you want to know the answer” because, you may not like what you hear and you must be prepared for whatever the answer is. Hopefully it will be positive and honest input to assist you in putting a plan together that supports your improvement in your role. However, if it is not and you realize that there may not be a path to improvement, you will need to deal with that and take steps to plan your way to a new role or even a new company. Having this conversation may be a bit awkward or even difficult to do yet is necessary and something that must be done if you want to know exactly where you stand with your current role.
The other decision you could make is that you don’t want to try to improve the situation where you are but instead are more interested in seeking a different role in a different company. If this is your decision, dealing with your role being in jeopardy now means pulling your resume together and seeking other opportunities. It means beginning to seek the support of your network and trusted colleagues and let them know of your plans. It is often through others that opportunities are presented to us so if you are going to seek something new, share this with those in your trusted network and allow them to share potential opportunities with you.
If you realize your role may be at risk, don’t panic. Just remember that you are in control. Make a decision about how you want to handle the fact that your role could be at risk and then continue taking steps to change that situation. Do not sit and wait for something to happen or someone to say something to you. You make the move and make things happen for you. Eventually, you’ll end up in a much more stable place.
This month’s development tip: Follow the guidelines in this month’s article to take control and remain in control of the direction of your leadership role and your career.
Andria is an award winning executive and leadership development coach and consultant. She works with clients to develop leadership skills and talent strategies that align with business strategy and drive results. She has over 15 years of Corporate Human Resources experience with areas of expertise in talent and succession management, leadership development and executive coaching. She has written numerous articles on talent management, career and leadership development, and strategic HR practices. She is currently in the process of writing a book titled: From Gatekeeper to Trusted Advisor: What Every HR Professional Must Do To Succeed Today. Andria is currently the Principal Owner of C3 Coaching & Consulting; an Executive Coaching & Strategic Human Resources Consulting firm specializing in helping individuals and organizations reach their highest potential through career and leadership development programs. To subscribe to C3's newsletter, Career Connection, and to get your free report: Three Key Steps to Creating Your Perfect Career, please visit C3's website (www.c3coachingandconsulting.com).