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When a top-level change brings a demotion

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “After our company president retired, I was demoted. I had been his communication advisor for seven years. The new president replaced me with a public relations director, who is now my boss. After reviewing an article I wrote for our company magazine, my new manager made a number of significant changes. I asked two colleagues for a second opinion, and they preferred my original version. When I shared their comments with my boss, he accused me of refusing to accept my changed role. How should I handle this situation?” — Edged Out

Marie’s Answer:  Being forcibly removed from a position of influence is a tough pill to swallow. But reorganizations are inevitable after a top-level change, because new executives always have different ideas. Here are some suggestions for adjusting:

•    When a new regime takes over, everyone must re-establish their credibility by making a positive impression on the people in power. Remember that the new president’s opinion will be heavily influenced by what he hears from your manager.

•    Under these circumstances, trying to overrule your boss is not a wise move. Being right doesn’t count for much if management begins to view you as difficult and oppositional. So don't waste any more time trying to prove your manager wrong. 

•    Instead, try surprising him with a helpful, cooperative attitude. Ask about his goals for the department and look for ways to support them. Share useful information and show respect for his expertise. 

You’ve gotten off to a bad start, so you need to recover quickly.  Although your feelings are understandable, continuing to act them out will only endanger your career. 

For tips on dealing with a management change, see How to Survive a New Manager.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mohan M Prasad March 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Well, surprises are the only routine that leaders face in organizations.

What changes that have come upon you can be viewed either:
> As a problem to be solved and get into a shell OR
> As an opportunity to make the best avail of and bounce back

People who have looked at such and similar situations as new possibilities to be prospected have won the war even if it meant losing a few battles here and there for a start.

Besides, I strongly feel that today leaders are known by the Goal they achieve more than the Role they hold. More by what they support for business than by to whom they report.

I think it will be prudent for you to sit back and understand the new dynamics and start gaining the confidence of the new Manager ; unless you want to throw in the towel.

Please do not make this a matter of prestige issue especially seeking collateral support with your colleagues , that can be too dangerous and you will only spoilt the soup ( pun intended ) further .

Take your time, take your new charge and at right time charged ahead to prove your worth that you can be left alone and independent in your Role .

Wait for the magic rather than panic

All the best

Mohan M Prasad


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