The ugly side of being a manager is the ratio of people fighting for your job.
You alone : All your subordinates
As the probability of you being an awesome manager is remote, therefore I conclude that you’re not competent enough to be the best person for the job compared with your subordinate.
But wait. Don’t succumb to the vanity mirror. Here’s how you can reduce the probability of you being replaced by your star subordinate.
Restrain them - Reinforce fear
Motivation is yesterday’s tool. Don’t motivate people to polish their performance, or your top management will soon realize you’re outshined by your subordinate. Use fear instead to keep them going, so that they’ll perform just to be in the safe zone, not the ‘excellent’ zone.
Break them - Discourage teamwork
As I’ve mentioned earlier, a well-organized team will lead to a well-organized resistance. You’re too weak to face that. Break them apart. In a meeting, they should only talk to you. They shall not work in pairs. If possible, they should work in different floors. Or different country. Whatever necessary.
Weaken them - Be vague
Don’t be precise in your orders. Give hints, not directions. Train them to read your mind. Next, change your mind often. This way, in the event of failure, your management principle is not to be blame, because you have none. You can now blame your subordinates for their lack of apprehension in the way you work.
Spy them - Select your clandestine agent
Quickly pick your favorite among your colleagues and promote them as your sarjeant-at-arms. This person must be, or, have the potential to be, your most loyal fan in the department. This person will be your eyes and ears, in the office wherever you’re not around. This person is your department’s Secret Police, so you’ll know any plan for coup-d’etat and eliminate the threat before the Operation Valkyrie commence.
Discourage them - Keep your succession planning public
You should analyze your subordinates according to the threat they posed to your position. In ascending order, list down your preferences of successor. The least threatening subordinate will be the top progeny in your succession planning. Your most threatening rival will know he/she doesn’t stand a chance to be promoted and will call it a quit, literally.