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OOPS! They changed your boss again?

Source | LinkedIn : By Kamal Karanth A

We all know that people do get frustrated with their bosses and leave. But my recent insight has been that more than the boss and his behavior, the changing of the boss is also disruptive. Oh! Yes the musical chair game with bosses comes via an intervention called ‘structural change’. Many organisations are in the habit of restructuring where people are shuffled around in the name of better alignment or customer focus.  No wonder the ‘boss’ keeps changing frequently for few of us.

This is a new dimension to employee demotivation. If issues like remuneration, role, boss, promotions weren’t already distracting enough, we add this angle called ‘change in structure’ to complete the chaos. The famous politically correct motive for any job change is to say at the interview that there is a re-structure occurring in the organisation forcing change. Most interviewers like that answer as it resonates with them. But the interviewer forgets that the person who couldn’t adapt to the change in a familiar culture is now promising to align within a new one.

We all know what happens in any structural change. The weak lose and the influential win to get the seemingly good looking roles. Good looking roles can have ingredients like who you report to, fancy designations and the size of your new army (span of control). Last week one of my friends gave me a stressed call which related to his relegation to a role less that what he was expecting. When delving into the details, I realised that he was now reporting to the SVP instead of the CEO, although his designation, pay and scope hadn’t changed much.  The boss had changed 🙂 There you go!

I’m sure you get to hear as much as I do about structural changes . Some organisations change almost every year.  I reckon structural changes happen for the following reasons:

  • Merger or acquisition 🙂
  • New CEO/ sales head joining from outside (they have to show something is broken)
  • Market crash, so cut the losses
  • Expansion of business (the only good reason for structural change)
  • Underperforming businesses

In some of the cases above, the trigger is not external and so begs a question as to why the new structure should work. The same internal factors of wrong personnel appointed, poor staff morale, and inefficient processes may come to haunt the new structure as well.

Let’s plot the good vs the bad of this restructuring game:

The Good:

  • New energized team to execute new ideas/products
  • Reacting to the market conditions faster
  • Right personal in right roles (correction)
  • Weeding out non performers by rendering them useless

The Bad:

  • Will demotivate the staff who did not gain in this change
  • Actually any new team takes longer time to perform
  • Why wait to create a need a new structure for that
  • Creates more toxicity and anxiety amongst remaining staff

The explanations around restructuring is also funny, leaders tend to give long lectures starting from Darwin’s theory to Apple about changing to survive/excel. I believe many of these changes are initiated to buy more time from key stakeholders and to prove that they have addressed non-performance.

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