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I was hired half a year ago as an IT manager responsible for a geographical region. I report to the global head of IT. I'm the sole responsible for the strategy definition, setting the processes we follow, aligning them with other teams, for coordination tasks, budgeting, hiring/ firing of IT people in my region. Obviously, also for the performance of our function. (I do consult with my boss of course, the word "sole responsible" is to mean that I'm not one of the managers responsible for that).

Now I learn that my boss is searching for a person at an intermediate level between himself and me, or more precisely us. The person will be responsible for my and one more region directed by a colleague - however, the other region is much smaller than mine. So I will basically have a boss who will be responsible for mostly what I do: creating the strategy, selling it to other units, etc. all the managerial tasks for my region and another one which is much smaller and less relevant.

I see it a bit as a demotion. Given our being extremely understaffed I suppose this will mean me getting back to development tasks. And I accepted this position to learn something new. Do I have reasons for that? What should I do?

Let me add: It's not just about my region. He's trying to do the same for another region, but that's not a very good consolation.

  • How many people does your (soon to be former) boss directly manage? – user1666620 Oct 21 at 16:15
  • @user1666620, quite a lot, but talking to one instead of 2 doesn't seem like something that could change it. – niep Oct 21 at 16:19
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You're looking at it from the perspective of you. You say that your boss is managing many different people - this is cognitively demanding and means that not every direct report could be getting the attention they need to be managed and utilized effectively.

Your boss could just be simplifying his workload, offloading difficult-to-manage tasks to somebody who can afford to focus on your region and the other one.

If you really do think you're being demoted, the obvious solution from your point of view is to apply for the new intermediate position.

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    He doesn't want my colleague and me to apply. Of course I'm looking at it from my perspective. I joined the company with specific expectations and I'm wondering whether I should search for a new job at the level I'm interested in. – niep Oct 21 at 16:33
  • @niep You asked if you were being demoted. This doesn't seem to be the case. If you want to get a new job, get a new job. It's up to all of us to act in our own self-interests. – user1666620 Oct 21 at 16:33
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You haven't been demoted. You're retaining your position. He's doing this for another region as well as yours. This is about your boss managing his workload and direct reports. This is an "up level" management change and decision. This is not about you.

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It's a restructure but a dangerous one for you, especially as you are discouraged from applying for the position, which basically says he's either not confident in your abilities to expand what you're doing now, or he has someone specific in mind already (pretty common).

It could be a retrenchment where the boss is contemplating replacing two region heads with one, or any number of other things. But it doesn't bode well for you. The danger is a bit further down the line when this person has control over both regions, they no longer need anyone at your level.

Best case scenario it's a sinecure job and nothing really changes.

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  • Thanks, that's how I see it too. I don't take these changes personally, but I see it, in the best case scenario, as dramatically reducing my influence on everything, in the worst case as my job turning in something very different than what I signed up for. What should I do now? – niep Oct 22 at 15:20
  • Not much you can do yet, it hasn't actually happened. Stay positive and hope it doesn't eventuate. Time enough to look at options when/if it happens and you have more info to go on. – Kilisi Oct 22 at 21:28
  • @niep This may have nothing to do with you. It could be that you are very good at what you do, and this is about allowing you to continue to focus on your existing work. – Jennifer S Oct 26 at 12:05

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