What to Do When You Are Demoted From Being a Manager

Remember the exhilarating, walking-on-air feeling of being promoted to a managerial role? Being demoted from management crumbles those good vibes, making you feel embarrassed, demoralized and even depressed.

So, what do you do now? In order to begin sweeping up your broken spirit and rebuilding your morale, you have a few things to consider and at least one big decision to make.

Determine if the Demotion Was Unfair

Do you suspect you were wrongly demoted? Maybe you witnessed your employer performing an unethical practice, and after you discussed your concerns with her, she knocked you back down the corporate ladder. Some bosses cut corners to save money or mislead clients to make money and expect management to do the same or risk demotion.

Eyes are on you as a leader. You're the middleperson who is expected to obey one person while leading others. The pressure is real, including the decision to speak up or put up – or demote yourself or quit. If you suspect you were demoted for being a whistle blower, consider seeking legal counsel.

Decide if it Was Discrimination

Do you think that discrimination played a role in your demotion? Taking a promotion away from any employee because of her age, race or sex is illegal and is therefore grounds for seeking legal counsel if you choose.

Was it Constructive Dismissal?

Perhaps your employer was avoiding the complications associated with firing you. Maybe he thought that by axing your promotion or making the working conditions miserable, you'd quit and he could bypass having to terminate your relationship.

An employer cannot unilaterally change an employment term without the employee's agreement. So, if he failed to discuss the change of status, duties or wage with you beforehand, you might decide to ask an employment lawyer about seeking damages for constructive dismissal, also called constructive termination or constructive discharge.

See it From Your Employer's Perspective

Employers don't normally hand out demotions underhandedly or with little consideration. From human resource's perspective, moving an employee to a lower position must be handled cautiously and only when a legitimate reason exists. Employee complaints, a lack of communication, an abuse of power and poor decisions that affect production are just a few factors that can lead to a manager being demoted.

Sometimes, being demoted has nothing to do with being unable to do your job. It might be the company's way of keeping you on the payroll because they value your contribution and abilities, but they are forced to make cutbacks. In the case of reorganization or a merger, for instance, a demotion is upsetting but may be something you can accept especially if your wage remains intact. Really, being demoted at work with the same pay but fewer duties seems like a win, doesn't it?

Consider How Well You Handled the Management Role

Maybe you knew, even subconsciously, that the move back down the command chain was coming. Be honest with yourself. Did you struggle with the role as manager? It's possible that the supervisory role was beyond your abilities or skill level. Not everyone is manager material, and that's OK.

Possibly, the feeling of superiority went to your head and changed your behavior for the worse. Whatever the case, don't be ashamed. We become better employees (and better people in general) when we learn from our mistakes.

Accept It and Learn From It

Acceptance leads to maturity, change and peace. Put aside any emotions such as anger and disappointment and look at the experience with an open mind so that you can start working to improve your standing in the company.

It is possible that your employer will one day reconsider you for a management position, but don't annoy her by rushing it. Settle into your new role and perform it the best that you can or consider your options.

Make a Decision

No matter the reason for your demotion, only you can decide what to do next. Take your time, stay focused and consider your options:

  • Ideally, you'll stay with the company assuming you're content there, especially if you received a demotion without a pay cut. Being with an employer long term regardless of your position is favorable in many instances, such as if you plan to apply for a loan or mortgage in the near future.

  • You could quit, but if the position includes health insurance, ask yourself if now is a good time to be without it, especially

    if you're expecting a child or dealing with a health issue. What about the fact that people who resign typically cannot collect unemployment benefits while looking for another job?

    * If you're determined to quit and financially secure enough to manage until finding a new source of income, breaking free can lead to wonderful opportunities. Maybe you'll consider using your passion and managerial experience to become your own boss.   

Keep Your Chin Up After Being Demoted From Management

Whatever you decide to do after being demoted, think of the experience not as a spirit-crumbling one but as a learning curve, helping you to grow in the workforce and in your personal life too.

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About the Author

Lorna Hordos is a home-improvement business owner and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of conversational business articles for WordPress.com, Bizfluent, AZ Central and Global Post.