Solution Saturday: The VP Verbally Attacked Me

Dear Dan,

I’m in need of some advice.  I have an outstanding CEO.  I truly enjoy having her as a leader.  She believes in me and values my opinion.  I was recently promoted to a leadership position.  

While, I was very excited about this, other VP’s were not.  One has a serious problem with it because our CEO didn’t ask her opinion.  So much so, that on a Saturday we were both working, I asked her for some help, only to find myself being verbally attacked.

I was told that “no one likes me,”, I only got a “promotion” if that’s what I’d call it, because I’m friends with the CEO’s daughter.  That has nothing to do with it, I work hard and value my job.  

This conversation took place more than 3 months ago, and I still seem to have this target on my back.  She even told me she was waiting for me to fail.  I’m not sure what to do about it.  

While I have pretty thick skin, and usually let things go, I feel like I was personally attacked for no reason, and because of this, I doubt myself.  

I want to be the best possible leader for my team, but this VP seems to do anything she can to stir up trouble.  She’s been here just as long as the CEO, so I don’t see her going anywhere.  

Do you have any advice for me?

Attacked by the VP

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Dear Attacked,

The people around us are the biggest factor in job satisfaction. I know this hurts and makes work miserable.

No reason:

Unfairness pours poison on the knife.

It might not be a good reason, but there is a reason you were attacked. The VP felt disrespected. Chances are, the VP wouldn’t have supported your promotion.

Your CEO:

Don’t expect your CEO to intervene. She may be supportive in private, but it costs too much political capital for her to step in.


Adversaries overstate problems. “No one likes you,” is an overstatement designed to put you down.


Your CEO believed in you when she promoted you. Do your best to demonstrate the wisdom of her decision. Believe in yourself. 

Relationships, gossip, value, and gratitude:

  1. Build strong relationships with everyone. You’re going to need them.
  2. Build the best relationship possible with your adversary.
  3. Don’t talk negatively about anyone, especially your adversary.
  4. Add value to everyone. Don’t ask them to serve you. Serve them.
  5. Speak well of everyone, all the time.
  6. Take your heartache to someone outside your organization.
  7. Display good manners and kindness to your adversary. Good manners are about you, not the person receiving them.
  8. Brag about others who help you achieve results. “Bob really helped us bring it home on our last project.” This helps others see your value without bragging about yourself.
  9. Let your performance be your defense. Don’t be defensive. It makes you look weak.
  10. Find a mentor or coach to help you navigate these tensions. You’re going to lose perspective. You need someone in your life who doesn’t have dog in the fight.
  11. Keep asking yourself, “What can I do that will make me proud?”
  12. Begin your day by making a gratitude list. Use gratefulness to overcome the power of darkness.

You have my best,


What suggestions do you have for “Attacked by the VP?”

Added Resource:Adversaries into Allies,” by Bob Burg.

** I don’t count the number of words in emails I respond to as part of my 300 word limit.

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