I am a manager in a retail business and have been there for over six years. Recently, a new general manager took over, and she seems to be cleaning house and hiring her own team. I have found out that a supervisor (we'll call him John) that reports directly to me is being asked to step down and he does not want to. The GM targeted him because he said he wanted to leave retail and was looking elsewhere. His replacement is coming from within our district, and she is a "favorite" of my district manager. I feel this is just an ill attempt to promote her and find an easy spot for her. John has had no performance documentation or any write ups for performance. He is actually very good at his job and isn't disengaged.
Can my managers and company do this? It's also important to note that I don't believe that my corporate HR knows the real actions behind this internal promotion and that someone is being pushed out to make it happen.
Dear Concerned Manager,
Short answer: Yes. They can do this. The only way it would be "no" in this case is if the new general manager targeted John because he was male and she prefers women.
The question you didn't ask, but the one I will answer anyway, is should the general manager do this? The answer to that is more complicated.
It is extremely common for new managers to bring in their own people. They've worked with them before, they know this person will bring good results, there's no time lost building relationships, and it's just more fun. But, it may or may not be good. If the previous general manager had a completely different personality and built up the staff around her personality or leadership style, it can be difficult to get people to change. If the new general manager got her job precisely because her boss wanted big changes, this can be the fastest way to do so.
However, I think you should wait and see in most situations. Find out who will work well with you and who won't, then make decisions. Lots of companies don't allow a wholesale changing of leadership when a new big boss comes to town.
In the specific case of John, though, he told people he wanted to leave. He told them he was actively job hunting. If you're the new general manager, and you have a supervisor who doesn't want to be there, no matter how effective he is at his job, and you have an employee you know to be great who earned a promotion and just needs a spot to open up, it makes a lot of sense to promote the person who wants to be there and let go of the person who doesn't want to be there .
Lesson is this: Don't tell people you don't like your job and are looking to move on unless you're 100 percent sure they'll support you until you do leave.
Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady
Photo: Creative Commons