HAUNTED by the person you replaced? How to Handle Filling the Shoes of Your Predecessor at Work

In this October series: Bewitching Business, we’re showing you how to tackle the ghoulish part of the working world, from enchanting your employer to eradicating ghosts from your position’s past. Don’t let the office life haunt you – spread your magic and craft the career you deserve.

So, you’ve got a new job and your predecessor was a rockstar. Well-loved and respected, and now you’ve got big shoes to fill. Don’t let the ghost of your position’s past haunt you – we’ve got tips to make the job your own and create a new precedent all your own.

Be Yourself:

Our first tip might be the most important – be yourself. The person before you might have been a rockstar, but you are too, in your own way. Be clear with your team that you will bring something new to the position and also remember to not hold yourself to the standards of anyone else.

Learn from the Best and Make It Your Own:

The great news about filling the shoes of someone great means your team know what success in that position looks like. Take the time to learn what made your predecessor so great. But, it’s also a great time to ask what the team would like to see improved on. No one is perfect, so finding what could be worked on, can help you bring something new to your team.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race:

Don’t expect to fill the person’s shoes immediately. Take the time to research the job, ask a million questions, and bond with your team. Expecting yourself to fill the role perfectly right away is only setting yourself up for failure.

Take a Clear Stance:

You might still be learning what your team needs and building your goals, but from day one, it’s a good idea to set a clear stance on what you do know. Over communicate while people get to know your working style. Let people know your management style or how you appreciate being managed. If you do have goals or immediate action items, be open and set them clearly.

Finally, remind yourself (and your team, if necessary) that change can be good! You’re bringing a new point of view, different experiences, and particular expertise to this job, so soon you’ll be filling those shoes and will be making room for a bigger pair.

If the work life is spooking you, keep an eye out for more editions of Bewitching Business where we treat you to the tricks of the trade.