Some time ago I was told to take over a big area. "Take over" means basically "manage it and redefine it as it's not working" - change processes, optimise them, elaborate a strategy, etc.
Till that moment a different department was responsible for the area. A colleague from that area had managed it single-handedly for years and wanted to stay responsible.
The colleague, let's call him Max, did everything for me not to take over the area:
he didn't share with me info about the processes; it was info I couldn't get from other sources or getting it from other sources required a lot of effort
he answered me with huge delay; for example he needed 3-4 weeks to answer very simple questions, which I'm sure he didn't even need to check in documents; this slowed down my work; no real handover was organised although I insisted on it
he gave me incomplete or wrong information
he barred me from accessing documents he administered on the sharepoint
he pretended to be cooperative to gain time; for example we were both working on something (independently) and he promised me to "of course share information with me within a week", then when I didn't get contacted within a week, he wrote me he was super busy but was to share it within the next 2 weeks. You can see where this is going...
he went on a campaign against me with stakeholders involved in processes. He'd been with company for many years so he knew the people. I was new and although I tried to establish personal relationships with everybody this normally requires time
in a similar vain: we are using a ticket system for documenting problems. Max has access to the system. He started to read tickets assigned to me and contact people who opened them behind my back to propose them a "better" solution than I proposed; a "better" solution normally means an "ineffective manual solution", which we can do once, as a way of exception but can't introduce as a rule as I wouldn't be able to do anything else during my work time. That's why I have certain standardised processes for such cases, which I introduced for everybody. But this doesn't matter. Those people then see Max as "the good guy" and me as a person who doesn't want to help them
he started to make changes to the area I don't know about; he claims my boss knows about them, my boss says that's not the case
Max told me directly at some point that he's doing that to get his area back and he's got nothing against me personally.
My actions and problem:
After trying to solve the problems myself - by talking to Max, proposing cooperation, being super cooperative towards him and just doing my job as well as I could - and with deadlines looming I turned to my boss asking him for an intervention.
I was told it was mine to solve. When I insisted that he just needed to clarify the responsibilities, he accused me of lacking communication skills.
Max's actions are supported 100% by his boss.
Then Max started to organise meetings directly with my boss - who doesn't know anything about the area - skipping me. My boss reacts as if he was flattered and uses this to criticise me (implying that I can't build a relationship with Max but he is able to do so).
Max seems to be very skillful politically, so he understood that he should isolate me to get his area back. (I think so because before me another person experienced the same type of behavior concerning another area).
I know that during these meetings Max lies about me, telling my boss that, e.g. I request the same information several times, which is simply not true. This could be easily checked by asking Max for corresponding emails (we don't normally communicate f2f or per phone), but my boss doesn't want to hear about checking anything. All efforts to talk to my boss about it turn against me. At the same time, he expects me to re-define the area as soon as possible.
This has been going on for half a year. I don't have any support in my boss, who attacks me on a personal level for "not being able to solve that". I also have the other dept against me.
I come from a professional culture where such situations were escalated. You talked to your boss and asked him to clarify responsibilities with the problematic coworker's boss. That's why I find this situation unbearable. Is there a way out of it? I mainly mean my superior's behavior.