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How to Sniff Out a Staff Uprising and What to Do About It

How to Sniff Out a Staff Uprising and What to Do About It

Feeling out of the loop, not quite in control? You might not be paranoid. Read about five warning signs that the staff in your IT department could be planning a coup d'etat — and three tactics to deal with the situation

Are you a CIO who has felt uneasy around the office? Feel like people give you the obligatory time of day but don't really take you seriously? It might mean you're in the midst of a full-blown leadership coup, perhaps being perpetrated by your IT lieutenant, who is working in close coordination with your boss.

It's important to remember that these coups normally occur at companies experiencing traumatic change

Here are five signs you're in the midst of one, as well as a few things you can do to stomp it out in its tracks. Some of the signs might seem obvious, but recruiters and career coaches wouldn't have mentioned them if they didn't happen. It's also important to remember that these coups normally occur at companies experiencing traumatic change. During this tumultuous time, recruiters say, there will be loyalists and dissenters, and your goal will be to retain as many of the former group as you can because they'll keep you in the loop if something is amiss.

1. Left behind on the e-mail trail If you find yourself struggling to catch up on an e-mail thread, that's a blatant indication that things might be awry, says Shawn Banerji, an executive recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates. "You might constantly be let in late on key exchanges that you should have been privy to, and that isn't good," he says.

2. Meetings between your second-in-command and the businesspeople Even if you're aware that your second-in-command is meeting with businesspeople to discuss a critical project that he or she has been assigned to, that doesn't mean their conversations might not drift elsewhere, especially after your number two gains notoriety and trust.

"It begins with just a normal business relationship," says Karen Rubenstrunk, an executive recruiter with Korn/Ferry International. "After awhile, [the second-in-command] gains an element of credibility. One he gets that credibility, he can begin questioning things and planting the seeds of doubt."

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