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Career Q&A | By Liz Reyer, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Q&A: Left out of the loop under new leadership

Q My company has new leadership, and I feel that I am being marginalized. I'm excluded from the types of projects that I have long had the lead on, and I'm not sure what to think. What should I be considering?

A: Look at the big picture in your company as well as your own track record for adapting; then consider what conditions you need for professional security and satisfaction.

Despite any apprehension that you may feel, it's important to get your fears under control. They will only cloud your ability to assess the situation and make well-grounded decisions. Take time to sit calmly, focusing on your breathing and letting any anxiety you feel dissipate. At least for that moment, get centered; it will carry over into how you feel as you move forward.

Then move into a neutral assessment of your organization. Consider the new executive team: What are their values, and how have you seen them put into action? This may pertain to policies, new approaches to business situations and personnel decisions, especially related to leadership transition.

Now look at how you fit, mapping your values against the new culture. It's essential to your happiness and your success that there is a reasonable overlap. For example, if you have a deliberate pace that fit in the past and your company now values high-speed action, your chances of flourishing in the new environment are slim. Also ask yourself if the issue is fit, or if it's a matter of visibility in the new world.

Evaluate your openness to positive changes, and notice messages you may be sending to the new leadership. Times of change bring new approaches, and this can be of great value to a company. However, if you aren't tuning in to the shift, you could be passed by. If you've been showing resistance to change, or even not actively embracing it, you may be reducing your perceived value to the company. You also may be perceived as part of an "old guard" that needs to be cleared out to move forward.

If you hope to stay, make plans to adjust to the new regime. Determine what you need to change, both in terms of actions and demeanor, to demonstrate that you're on board with the changes.

You'll also need to communicate this, and the best way may be to find a champion higher up in the organization. He or she may be able to mentor you and put in a good word for you and your commitment.

If you decide that your time at the company is likely winding down, take charge of your future. Start planning for a job search, updating your resume and getting the word out — discreetly. If you're proactive, you're more apt to be seeking a situation you want, rather than scrambling after the decision is taken out of your hands.

Take a realistic look at your "new" company, decide what outcome you'd prefer, then take action that moves you in a positive direction.

Liz Reyer is a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Her company, Reyer Coaching & Consulting, offers services for organizations of all sizes.

Q&A: Left out of the loop under new leadership 03/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 3:30am]
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