"My New Boss Has No More Experience Than Me, And I Resent Reporting To Her."
07/02/23 Edition Stephen Says Column

Dear Stephen,

I’m a sales rep for a manufacturer. I’ve been working here for five years. Our regional manager recently took another job, there was an opening to replace him, I applied for the job, but was told I didn’t have enough leadership experience. No direct reports.

Three months later, I find out that the VP of sales hired someone from a competitor who is a regular sales rep just like me. I have nothing personal against this person, I just resent that they have a job that I could have had but they have no direct reports either.

I spoke to HR, they gave me some mumbo-jumbo excuse. I just think its unfair.

The new boss is learning on the job, just the way that I would have. We also have two openings within the division and it’s clear she does not know where to begin or how to hire people. How would she? She’s never hired anyone.

Do I quit?

Stuck in Sales
Dear Stuck,

I don’t know what’s in the Kool-Aid, but last week I got a letter from someone in management who wants to go back to sales and now you are in sales and wanting to be in management.

I appreciate your frustration, it’s always nice when a company thoughtfully promotes internally. However, if your former manager was a good leader, they would have mentored and prepared you, so that even though you lack leadership experience you could have used the “mentoring scenario” as a reason to be promoted. It sounds like it’s too late for that, unfortunately.

You know nothing about your new boss, it would be crazy to quit. Give her a chance! She may have come from a more considerate manufacturer where, although she was not in a leadership position, hiring and firing people, she could have been mentored by a strong boss who influenced her style towards leadership.

Instead of being angry or jealous, why not embrace this as a chance to win over the new boss, jump right in, and be willing to share your knowledge of the region and your dealers and customers? Chances are the VP of sales told her you interviewed for the job or were interested, that’s typically what happens. I’m sure she’s aware. Be a team player, provide support. It will only come back to help you in the long-term since it sounds like you like your job.

One other motivator is that there is always more than a fifty percent chance that someone promoted to management from a completely different company and culture will fail as a regional manager with a completely new company where they don’t know the ropes. If that happens, you’ll be ready to swoop in and save the day. Put yourself in the position to do that, as opposed to skulking around the office and being bitter. Think about the law of attraction; what you put out into your environment is what you will receive, better to emit positive energy than negative. Simply put; stay put.


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