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5 signs your boss is looking for a new job

Boss leaving work press release image

You can’t be 100% sure, but you think your boss might be looking for a new job. They have been acting differently, from attending more networking functions to behaving more secretly. You wouldn’t usually give this too much thought, but the fact that this behaviour is so out of character for your boss, has raised your suspicions.

Understandably, if your boss is leaving, you would want to know sooner rather than later. This change is bound to impact you in a number of ways, good or bad. Your workload may increase, you might have to fill their shoes temporarily, and perhaps this change will alter the course of your career journey and the way you feel about working for this organisation. Simply put, in an ideal world, you would see this announcement coming a mile off, and have time to plan your next steps. So how can you spot the signs that your boss is looking for another job?

1. Your boss is more actively building their personal brand

Have you started to notice your boss “getting their name out there” a little more than before? By this I mean, they keep cropping up on your LinkedIn news feed, having updated another section of their profile. Maybe they are suddenly volunteering for more public speaking opportunities, perhaps they have started writing a professional blog, or maybe they keep popping out to networking events.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all practices of a good leader, and should certainly be encouraged. I frequently write blog posts and add achievements to my portfolio as I go along, all in the name of maintaining my personal brand. However, if this behaviour is out of character for your boss, and is happening in conjunction with the signs listed below, then this could mean that they are taking these steps to get noticed by a recruiter.

2. Your boss is behaving more secretly

Is your boss leaving the office without saying goodbye, or adding lots of “private” appointments into their diary? Are they working from home more, and when they do come into the office, they are dressed smarter than usual? All of this could imply that your boss is interviewing elsewhere and they are trying to be discreet about this.

3. Your boss is subconsciously starting to hand over their work

Has your boss started to delegate more? This can be a sign that they feel you are ready to take on extra responsibility, which is great news. However if your boss is suddenly delegating more to the entire team at once, it is more likely that they are getting ready to leave their job.

4. Your boss seems more laid back than usual

Your boss used to run a tight ship, setting clear deadlines and expectations, making sure they were met by the team.

Over time, you’ve realised their attitude to work seems to have become less focused on success. At first you thought perhaps they were preoccupied with reacting to other urgent areas of the business. Then you realised they don’t seem preoccupied, they seem apathetic.

5. One-to-one meetings with your boss have become less and less regular

Regular meetings are crucial to any manager leading a team. This is their chance to provide constructive feedback, discuss objectives, and on the whole, ensure everybody is performing to their full potential. This is in their interest as well as yours, as you are a reflection of them.

Can you remember the last time you sat down with your boss for a one-to-one? Have they dipped in frequency recently? Of course, there may be many reasons for this and it’s important not to jump to conclusions. For example, they may have more trust in your own capabilities, so feel comfortable in scaling back the frequency of these meetings. However, if these sessions have decreased drastically, and you can’t think of any other reason why this may be, then this could signal that your boss is getting ready to pass on the reigns and priming you to become more independent.

As I have explained, these behaviours on their own don’t necessarily equal resignation. However a combination of the above could signal that your boss is looking for a new job.

If this is the case, carefully consider what this means for you. Will your role change for better or for worse? Could this be an opportunity to fill their shoes, or does it signify that you too should follow in their footsteps and move on? After all, if they have gone from being a great boss, to one who has lost their interest and passion for this organisation, perhaps it’s not your boss that’s the problem, but the organisation you work for.