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Demoted supervisor wants my job!

Dear Office-Politics,

I was just informed that a former supervisor is being demoted and will be transferred to me who is at a lateral level with her. From a trusted employee I have learned the demotion was done because the employee is uncomfortable with their current post and wishes to have mine in which she will be reinstated to the supervisor level. It was announced today that her (demoted employee) position was permanently filled.

This employee claims to have a lot of experience in my field of work and has bragged to other supervisors and my bosses that she is a better fit than I am. Her old supervisor is now my supervisor and this concerns me. By the way I have had a lot of fair evaluations that has led to my promotion.

How do I approach my new supervisors and this employee? This employee also believes that they can change the process that is currently in place. I am also looking for advice because I believe I will have problems managing my emotions. The employee will be transferred in 2 weeks or less? I don’t want to be defensive but believe I should work hard at protecting my post which I have held for 9 years.

Battle of the Fittest


dr. rick brandon
dr. marty seldman

Dear Battle of the Fittest,

You are definitely using several key principles of Organizational Savvy and we will try to add to your skill set to help you maintain your current position.

By using your network (Trusted employee) you know have advance information regarding a possible threat to your status. This gives you valuable data as well as additional time to plan your strategy. Also you will not be blindsided by her actions.

Going forward we definitely support your intention to defend and protect your role but it will require being skillful and careful. The two things to be concerned about are 1. Getting emotional, if you do she will probably use that against you and you will give her “ammunition” to question your leadership, 2. Attacking or being vindictive to her, if you do she will use it to question your fairness and you will play into her hands. So this situation calls for the following approach:

Verbal Discipline
Be careful who you discuss this with because unless it is someone you fully trust you don’t know people’s loyalties yet.

Emotional Control
Don’t let her actions or words trigger you. Be firm but use Executive Vocabulary (you can find this in Survival of the Savvy).

Effective Self Promotion
Find ways to document and make visible your accomplishments while continuing to credit others on the team or in support functions. If she does things that are detrimental to the team or does not follow direction, document what she does. You may need it if this becomes confrontational.

Develop allies and advocates
At some point you may need others to stand up for you. Try to determine who is on your side and whether they would be willing to speak up for you if you need it.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Rick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. Co-authors,
Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success

cover of Survival of the SavvyRick Brandon, Ph.d. and Marty Seldman, Ph.D. are Co-authors, Survival of the Savvy: High-Integrity Political Tactics for Career and Company Success. Dr. Rick Brandon is CEO of Brandon Partners. He has consulted and trained tens of thousands at corporations worldwide, including Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Marty Seldman is one of America’s most experienced executive coaches. His 35-year career includes expertise in executive coaching, group dynamics, cross-cultural studies, clinical psychology, and training.

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