Turning a job transition into a career building move – Part 3 : Role Changes within the Organization

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Alex Rodrigues on Unsplash

The most common type of job transitions are role changes within the organization. Most of us are likely to experience this at least a few times in our career. These could be promotions to a higher level in the organizational hierarchy or a lateral movement within the same company.

Challenges of role changes within the same organization:

  1. Getting out of your comfort zone: If you have been in your current role for a while, it may be both exciting and daunting to step out into unfamiliar territory. This is especially true if you are a subject matter expert in your current role and a beginner in the new one.
  2. Seeing yourself differently: If your identity in the organization is tied to your role it may be difficult to see yourself in the new role
  3. Getting people to accept your new avatar: People whom you reported to earlier may now be your peers while people who were your peers may now report into you. Getting people to accept you in your new role is something that needs time and focus.

For the role you are leaving:

Manage the handover efficiently: Ensure all information is smoothly and efficiently transferred over to the new owner. If there is a learning curve be willing to support the new person through the same. Be available to answer and address queries.

Introduce stakeholders to the people replacing you: It is important that all stakeholders are aware of whom they need to reach out to once you move on. This ensures that the new person is accepted and you are not spending more time than required in handling your old responsibilities. It may also be a good time to inform people of where you are moving and what they can reach out to you for.

Be willing to let go: Do not judge the new person’s ability or style of working. Once the handover is completed gracefully distance yourself and allow the new person to take charge. However good or bad the new person is at the role, you need to allow them their space because lets face it; it is their job now and not yours.

For the role you are accepting:

Define who you are in the new role: Every role requires us to reinvent our identity. Spend time defining who you want to be in your new role. Clearly, state your brand and what you stand for. Who do you want people to see you as in your new role? The clearer you are on this, the clearer the other people will be on this too. If the move is a vertical one it is also a good time to define what behaviors and tasks you need to let go of.

Set business goals: Create a clear plan of what you want to have achieved in 1-3 months from now. Have a plan for both your business and for developing your own skills and knowledge in the new role

Redefine relationships: Sometimes people around you may find it difficult to break out of the perceptions they have off you. With the change in your role, it is required for you to redefine relationships especially with people you have worked with before. Respectfully say no when you need to and be firm in establishing authority when needed.

Reach out to stakeholders: If there are new stakeholders that you will be working with, reach out to them and introduce yourself and your role.  This will ensure that they know whom to reach out to should the need arise.

Adopt a learner mindset: Every new role requires learning and unlearning. Be willing to get comfortable with not knowing and approach your new role from a place of curiosity and willingness to learn.


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