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When You Have to Demote a Supervisee

By Marty Nemko

It's tough enough to give negative feedback when the problem is fixable--for example, if your supervisee has bad breath. But let's say you must demote someone because he's too unintelligent. One approach: "I've been thinking a lot about you and there's a good spot in the company where I think you'd do really well. (Describe the position enthusiastically.) The downside is that it pays $50 less per week. What do you think?" There's no need to label the person as incapable or the job change as a demotion. The key principle: allow the employee to save face.

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