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In our company, we have a coworker, and let's name him John. We work in the IT field, and his contribution to the team has always been problematic. He breaks more stuff than he fixes, and our team members have to be always on the look out for his work.

Due to our flat company hierarchy, our manager handles most of the company's non-technical matters, including human resource and project management. Me and a couple of other team members have raised an issue regarding John numerous times. However, our views are constantly being dismissed by the manager as "a group of old staff attacking the new staff". As a result, some of the senior team members have outright refused to interact with John.

As we go on with more projects, there are even more issues popping out with John's work, and this was brought out to the table once more, a few weeks ago. The manager had talked to John and said that John had promised to improve over two weeks. After two weeks, a review is supposed to be done by the senior team members. This message was relayed to the senior team members via simple messaging applications.

A few days ago, our manager made an important and huge decision which will require more manpower. The review was never raised by the manager, and what was more worrying is that John was tasked on handling a whole new module, all by himself.

With our manpower spread thin, understandably, every resource, including John, is crucial to the manager. As a member of the team, I am concerned about how his work will affect our project in whole. But raising the issue again does not seem to be effective either.

So the question is, as a member of the team, what can I do?


More information as requested by @JoeW.

All of the team members have worked with John at some point. I have worked with him as well, and generally, we agree that he does not take input from us. As an example, a core library we were using was causing some issues. While the team and I had advised him to check his work, John had outright claimed that it is the library's issue. His first submitted work include manually patching the core library's components. Only after much talking and discussion, we found out that his work was flawed. John's defensive pattern is apparent in all of his reopened issues.

just because you are willing to work with someone doesn't mean you are helping them fix their problems

Of course, this statement is true. But since the team is small, John would occasionally get flooded with tasks, and the other team members who are more free, are tasked with solving his issues. Since some of them refused to interact with John, and talking to the manager is fruitless, they just attempt to resolve it themselves.

  • Have you considered working with the person in question to fix the problem? If the senior members refuse to interact with the person and are offering no help to try and fix the problem why would you expect anything to change? – Joe W Jan 20 '18 at 17:35
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    I feel sad for poor John. I hope the manager has the courage to say no to bullying in the workplace. – user7360 Jan 20 '18 at 17:53
  • @JoeW yes, and not just me. All of the team members have worked with him at one point. But its as if he does not take input from us. Would it be preferable for me to elaborate in question? – user6616962 Jan 20 '18 at 17:56
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    You should include all information relevant to your question, of which mentoring in this case is very important. I would also point out that just because you are willing to work with someone doesn't mean you are helping them fix their problems. As it stands now It is very easy to read this post as the senior people don't like the new person and are refusing to work with them. Also you should expand a little on where exactly in IT you are working as that is a large field with lots of different skill sets needed and knowing exactly what you do in IT can help get a better answer. – Joe W Jan 20 '18 at 18:04
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    "So the question is, as a member of the team, what can I do?" Minding your own business is what you can do and it is the only thing you should do. I have always found it hard to understand why people look for ways to make their life more complicated than necessary and go looking for trouble. – Masked Man Jan 21 '18 at 19:00
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If John is supposed to handle one whole new module all by himself, then two things can happen: Either John was just not bothered all the time because he could rely on others, and now he gets his act together, or your problem will solve itself without you having to do anything. Except that you will end up writing John's module when he's gone.

Anyway, nothing you need to do.

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    To add to this, the responsibility falls on the manager if John doesn't work out. Actually by giving him a solo project like this, it may be looked at as a test by the manager on whether John has what it takes to make it without being influenced by the other developers. John can either stand or fail on his own, and the manager is willing to take a risk on John to pay him for this work. – Phil M Jun 6 '18 at 23:36
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So the question is, as a member of the team, what can I do?

At this point, all you can really do is let your manager worry about management. You have done your duty, and raised the flags in a professional way, now you need to worry about your part of the project.

As things progress, continue to professionally and factually raise concerns regarding this individual (and any other factors that may effect the project) and then put it out of your mind and focus on your part.

You do your part to the best of your ability, and let the manager worry about the project as a whole.

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our team members have to be always on the look out for his work

Stop covering the sh*t he makes. Let managers step on it and let him bear the consequences of his work.

If you remove his accountability by filling the (alleged) gaps he creates, there is no way that the organization will feel the need to fix the issue.

  • This is harsh to let the project suffer but I agree. If he has a module his work can be tracked to him. – paparazzo Jan 20 '18 at 18:28
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    I have seen it happen; whatever is done, do not step down sabotaging his work. – Rui F Ribeiro Jan 22 '18 at 20:35
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    @RuiFRibeiro, I am not saying to sabotage his work. – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 23 '18 at 3:54
  • @L.Dutch I do not doubt your good intentions, but there is a fine line between the two. I mean, a reasonable support is a professional stance, but not to the point of doing his job. – Rui F Ribeiro Jan 23 '18 at 9:30
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Aside from all the other great answers; create an excel document, or a shared Google spreadsheet, and start documenting everything and opening a line for every mishap.

Without concrete evidence, management will otherwise think you just do not like the guy.

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1 - Please document all the instances where his work has caused significant harm or loss of time/resources.

2 - Avoid helping him and let him fail. That should make it clear to the management.

3 - If possible, chit chat with him or with co workers to find out if he might be hired because he is well connected with higher ups in the company. If he got in due to connections & not competence, then you can probably change your team or get ready to quit if his work impacts your productivity.

4 - Review his resume if possible. Its likely that this person has added fake experience or skills to his resume to get the job. You'll be surprised how often people use fake resumes.

  • "Avoid helping him and let him fail" - Doesn't sound like a professional suggestion, nor positive for the company – DarkCygnus Apr 19 '18 at 23:05

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