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Possible promotion problems UPDATE & DETAILS #5

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I've been offered a promotion at my job, acting as a team leader.  My boss has given me at least through the weekend to think about it.  I'm mostly excited about the opportunity, but I'm friends with the person (let's call her Teri) who held the position until now.  At first, I wasn't sure what had happened to cause this change, but she's gone online to announce she is moving to run another team.  Apparently, Teri thinks this is a dead-end position and that she took the opportunity to jump ship before the boat sinks.

Here are my questions:

* What is the best way to bring up this possible ending of the team with my boss?  I'm not sure if I want to be in a lurch when my job dries up, even if I'm placed elsewhere (most likely not with my current team)
* How do I politely handle conversation with Teri if I do accept her former position?  She seems to think that it's a dead-end job.  I think there's a possibility I'm being brought in to see if new leadership will save the team.

If you are friends with Teri, you might want to call her and discuss the position. Dead-end for one person is not necessarily dead-end for everyone; she might have very different career goals then you. Also just because that's the public excuse she's giving doesn't mean its a whole story - the position might not actually be dead end, but she wants to save face.

Also what are your options? Do you have the option of 'jumping ship'? Or is your option be team leader until the project ends or be a team member until the project ends but either way you are on the same soon-to-be-ending project? If you are going to remain on the project no matter what, you might as well get the resume and experience boost of being the leader.

I think before you commit (unless you know for sure you don't want it), ask your boss what the current status of the team is, how it's viewed within your organization (at whatever level is relevant), and what your boss' expectations are for your role and plans for the team in general.  Perhaps you can ask whether there are recommendations for keeping some things the same or changing some things, and that might give you insight into whether they're looking for a new approach/new leader personality.

For talking to Teri - my tack would depend on how long she was in the role.  If she was leader for multiple years, then you could see it (and talk about it) as a transitional role:  you'd be taking it on to learn new leadership skills, but you know that in a few years you may outgrow that position too.  At that future point, you'll be in a better position to take on yet another promotion due to your experience.

If she was only leader for a year or less... you could still talk about it the same way (investment in new leadership skill development) but I wouldn't expect Teri to be as supportive if she found it dead-end in a shorter period of time.  You'd still be trying out a new role and getting new experience, right?  If she thinks the team is doomed but you get reassurance from your boss that it's not, then shrug and smile if she says negative things.

I would primarily look at the job from your perspective rather than anyone else's. Would it be something useful for you to have on your resume, even only for a short time? Is it the direction you want to go? Is it an area of your skills you believe could do with the experience for other roles later in your career? What opportunities might it give you in the future?

Talking to your boss could be quite tricky. I doubt s/he will come out and say that this is a dead-end role with no future. Who wants to put off the person you want to take the role in that way? I would approach the conversation from a very positive position, discussing each of the people in the team and their roles in the future. This will probably give you quite a bit to go on without straying into difficult territory.

Keep in mind, too, that Terri may be being sidelined for you and she be very bitter about it. If so her comments would naturally be quite negative as a result. If you discuss things with her, I would be very neutral. Don't make any suggestions for improvements. (This can be done once she's gone.) Be grateful for any information she provides and publicly acknowledge the work she has done in the past (perhaps check with your boss that s/he is comfortable for you to do this).

I wouldn't talk to Teri about the job.  She is online bad mouthing her old position, which is never a good (or professional) thing to do.  If they are giving you the promotion and moving her, I would lean towards the problem is not the position but the person who held it.  Before you accept it, I would talk to the boss.  Don't tell them what Teri has said, but ask what the vision is for the job and if it is temporary or long term.  If temporary, what is the plan for when the position ends. 


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