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Going on the offensive against a new rival

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Q. I began working here two years ago and I’ve since been promoted from technical analyst to supervisor. But our department restructured and I was asked to go back to my old position. Now a competitive newcomer is using my slight downfall against me by trying to shed light on anything that could be a blunder on my part. I am choosing not to attack. Is this smart?

A. No. The best attack is to go directly to the boss and say, “I want to produce better results. What kind of measures are you using to evaluate my performance? Ideally, what would you like to see me produce?” Your goal is to find out how you’re being judged so that you can deliver exceptional results and solidify your standing in your manager’s eyes. Even if your rival keeps trying to expose your miscues, that won’t matter if you strengthen your relationship with your boss (and other senior execs) and continually demonstrate your talent, drive and commitment.

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