What can I do to step down but earn the same salary?

Friday August 23 2019

By Caroline Mboijana

I’d like to step down from a leadership position at work but still be paid my current salary because I deserve it. I work better as just a team member rather than team leader, but my good performance always puts me in positions of leadership. How do I get my employers to understand my point of view? James

Dear James,
You may want to re-think the situation. You are requesting to step down from the leadership role and by doing so you are technically asking for a demotion.
You will find it difficult to convince your employer to allow you to step down and maintain the same salary.

Before you speak with your supervisor, may I suggest you under-take a self-reflection exercise. What aspects of your leadership role do you not enjoy?

You may want to look at those specific areas and consider whether signing up for a coaching intervention maybe helpful in changing your mindset towards them. If after the self-reflection process you still feel you do not want to be leader and you want to work in the same organisation and are willing to step down, then you will need to prepare yourself for the impact of working with a salary cut.

A decrease in salary will have an adverse impact on your financial commitments.
Stepping down and being demoted has other consequences and may negatively impact your confidence levels in the same organisation.

It is important to think about this choice very carefully especially if you remain in the same organisation.


An alternative and more extreme option, is to look for a role outside your current organisation where you can be the team member that you would like to be.

Caroline Mboijana
Managing Director
The Leadership Team (U)