After a restructuring, I was denied the chance to move to a new position. Is management sending me a signal?

SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL: NINE TO FIVE: DECEMBER 10, 2017

THE QUESTION

When the company named me a team lead 1 1/2 years ago, I was told that when the number of direct reports justify it, I would receive a promotion to a higher role as operations manager. But following a recent restructuring that consolidated two groups and eliminated the team lead position, the company transferred in an operations manager from another province. I am now reporting to him ā€“ essentially in my prior job. They said the decision had nothing to do with performance. Is senior management sending me a signal?

THE ANSWER

Restructuring, mergers and downsizing situations are usually an advantage to the few rather than the masses, and they should never be taken personally. Employees are merely pawns in the game when there is corporate change. Imagine a chess board and each chessman is an employee: now, reconfigure the board from square to triangular with more or less squares and try to put everyone back in place where they were before or might be anew ā€“ it’s crazy. Employers think that if as many people as possible can still be on the board, life is good ā€“ for them maybe, often not for the employees.

You have to reassess your new/regressive place in the company and ascertain whether there is a future for you here. Whatever you decide, continue to be a star performer in case the new operations manager doesn’t work out, so you can be ready to take the lead. And if he does work out, you can offer a new company your professional services with pride and confidence. Always be prepared for change; it isn’t always fair or may not seem right, but it is always going to be imminent in all aspects of our lives.