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I work at my company since three years and have been promoted to manager of the team I started in. I have brought a lot of innovation and efficiency to the team and always received top performance reviews and was consistently told I was the top performer in the department.

I truly enjoy my team... but recently a director and my manager brought me into a meeting and told me that I have to start grooming my successor in order for me to manage another, newer, team within weeks time. Although it is interesting, it is one of the most troubled teams in the company, poor in talent and motivation.

I personally feel that despite having received only positive performance reviews, I still have many improvements and projects for my current team... so I am confused about this re-assignment. And wondering whether it might be a sign that they don't want me in my current team anymore because of some reason.

How can I know for sure whether there are no hidden motivation behind their move?

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    Have you talked to someone from the decision level about this? Did they give any justification? – CMW Feb 8 '14 at 1:09
  • Well, they mentioned a few things like that new team will be reorganized (lay offs). I am just unsure why me though... – Jackandjack Feb 8 '14 at 6:19
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    You've been given a compliment - they believe in your leadership abilities. – Dan Pichelman Feb 9 '14 at 3:43
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    This is a good question asking us to help the OP make an actionable evaluation. This is on topic and of good scope. That it is a difficult question should not be a reason to close it. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Feb 10 '14 at 16:19
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    possible duplicate of How can I groom a successor without losing my own seniority? – Wesley Long Feb 13 '14 at 9:11
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If you've done such a great job in improving your current team, there may be a perception of how great is the value you'd bring to the new team by doing the same thing over there. While you may still see improvements for your existing team, which would yield a much greater value: Taking the already pretty good team to its next level or taking the poor team up to the pretty good that you have with your current team? Consider on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of their potential where is each team. Your current team may well be at the 80 or higher mark while the other team may be down in the single digits and thus your challenge is to see if you can work the same magic with the new team.

This could also be seen as the question of how well do you prepare successors for yourself so that you can continue to climb the corporate ladder for another possible motive here.

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    That last remark from JB is important. If you feel that there is still room for improvement in your original team you can do two things: tell the director/manager there's still work to do there that you like to be continued in the interest of that team and try to set up that team for further improvement when you are no longer there (good leadership is giving leadership away). – Jan Doggen Feb 11 '14 at 9:25
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You can't guess someone's motive. If you are a top performer, my belief is that you have been asked to groom a different team because you can improve the other team. Take it in a positive way rather than looking at it negatively. Also, if you are not comfortable with the change, speak to your superiors regarding the same.

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Someone who is good at their job always has future plans in mind. You will never be able to implement all of them.

Being asked to manage a troubled team is exactly the kind of problem that is given to a good manager. You've proven that you can manage a good team; managing a troubled team is a much bigger challenge. You're going to have to figure out what the issues are on the team and come up with a way to turn a team that isn't performing well into a team that does perform well.

A manager should always have someone identified as a potential future replacement for them. A really good manager will also have potential future replacements mapped out for the key members of their team. There are any number of reasons why you, or someone who reports to you, will not be on your team in six months: health issues, sabbatical, moving to another location to support a partner's career, changes in priorities, and so much more. Not only does this ensure the health of the team, it also helps people see a growth path for them. These paths are not, of course, set in stone -- someone who thinks today that they might like to be a manager could change their mind. Part of a manager's job is navigating all of this and still having a team that is happy and performs well.

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