Perhaps one of the most universally feared type of boss out there is the proverbial ‘Hatchet Man.’ This is the boss who has been brought into an organization to ‘clean things up.’ Sometimes a workplace has become dysfunctional, or performance levels aren’t up to standard. Sometimes it is because the previous management has let a workforce grow beyond where it should. Whatever the reason, having a Hatchet Man in your midst can make for very stressful times.

It should be noted that companies don’t bring these individuals in with the intent of making people’s lives miserable, but instead to try and turn things around. The role they play can be very important to an organization’s long term health and success. Having said that, this isn’t much consolation when you’re concerned it might be your neck on the chopping block next. Here are some tips for winning with the Hatchet Man:

1. Be good at what you do

This is still the best recipe for success in any work environment.

2. Be a champion of change

When expectations of you change or when new procedures or policies are put in place, find reasons to embrace them and champion them. Hatchet Men are on the lookout for people who want to be an active part of the team going forward.

3. Reconnect with your network

Be proactive. Sometimes when a Hatchet Man lets you go, it’s not a personal thing. It’s because your department or job function was deemed expendable at this stage. If this happens to you, make sure you are well positioned. You want to make sure that your references have lots of good things to say about you!

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