Does Your Manager’s Shadow Conceal You?

Congratulations!  You have a very successful career, received promotions and pay increases along the way, and better still, your manager thinks you’re a rock star.

Life.  Couldn’t.  Be.  Better.

When you ask your manager for feedback on how you’re doing she says, “Great.  Keep it up.”  You’re thrilled.

You meet with your manager on a regular basis.  He’s certainly no absentee manager.  You meet your manager’s expectations.  You get your work done, and them some, on time.  No complaints.

Again.  Life is good.

But suddenly, your manager leaves the organization.  Here today.  Gone tomorrow.  Could be medical.  Maybe family.  Perhaps it’s legal or ethical.  For our purposes, it doesn’t really matter.  The fact is, she’s gone.

And so where does that put you???

Is there anyone out there?

Who else in the organization knows about you?  I mean really knows about you.  Who else knows about the quality, and, more importantly, the impact of your work?  Who will speak for you now that your manager is gone?  More critically, who is knowledgeable enough to speak about you, to advocate for you?  To convincingly tell others that although the leadership has changed, you certainly shouldn’t?

In today’s era of career-building by changing jobs, sandwich generations, and corporate growth through mergers and acquisitions, it’s not uncommon for people to find their manager has suddenly left or been replaced.  Equally suddenly, they find themselves exposed, as they now realize their manager cast a long shadow over them, their work, and their impact.

Too often, individuals are satisfied that their manager is content with their work, that they meet or exceed their manager’s expectations.

But as noted earlier, who else knows about it?  Who else knows you well enough to advocate on your behalf?  If there is no one else, why weren’t you exposed to other leaders of influence in your organization?  More importantly, why didn’t you advocate for such exposure?

So it’s wonderful to be in your manager’s good graces.  Obviously, that’s important to achieve.

But don’t set your sights so low, and don’t put all your job and career eggs in that one manager’s basket.  Get out from under her shadow.  Get some exposure.

Get out from the shadows

Who else of influence in your organization do you need to have contact with?  What can they teach you about the organization that your manager can’t?  And how can they help you achieve your performance and career goals?

Increasingly, our clients are looking to their people to have an enterprise mindset, to think broadly, and to see their role in the context of the enterprise, not just their department.

One of the best ways to do that is to get exposure to others outside your department.  Meet with your manager, and ask her whom you should be meeting with to extend your influence and impact (and, in the process, your recognition).

Your manager’s shadow maybe long, and it is likely that he is not deliberately trying to conceal you from the rest of the organization.

That being said, it is up to you to ensure you get the exposure you need.  It is up to you to have contact with other leaders of influence.

Map out who they are, identify points of common interest and impact, and make time to meet with them to discuss that.

Change in organizations and its personnel are constant.  So should your plan for well earned exposure and recognition.