PM rejects ideas then brings them back later as his own

The situation is me and my colleague, say 'Jak', report to the same manager, 'Dom', but 'Jak' has the title of project manager. I am more into Business Analysis. He (Jak) does not have any idea of his own, but when people (including me) send him ideas for better work and collaboration, he rejects them, but in a way that the person is not offended.

But after a few days, he tries the same ideas, ones that were formerly rejected, but he tries posing those ideas using different words, and if it works says to his manager that it was all his idea, and he says he has been thinking and working hard for the better side of the project, even while others are slacking. There is so much of "I" in this guy.

PM Creates conflict within the team

Jak also has poor management skills for a person of his work experience and does not know anything about software development, or people management, but he is the entitled PM for a Development intensive project. And to an extent, he knows his weakness! But his only modus operandi is to create conflict in between Development, QA, BA and let people fight.

For instance, when clients find a bug in a feature, the QA says this was not stated by BA, he asks QA to send a mail to my manager without my notice, but he asks that they put him in the CC or BCC. The same he did to me when I had certain issues with QA or DEV. It has gone to a state where the manager 'Dom' has formed a strong perception or a prejudice that 'Jak' is the only person working and all others are slacking and having all kinds of issues. Dom himself has said this to me in few meetings.

We've tried discussing issues with management

Its very obvious that this guy plays awesome office politics, and much ahead of the game. Any emails sent to Dom against Jak has backfired against the person who informed it, as the manager, Dom, has formed a strong perception, and 1x1 with Dom were futile.

How should we handle 'Jak', who takes credit for others' work and ideas? How can we convey this to Dom in a diplomatic and professional manner?

The team morale is extremely low and there is no trust within the team, which is working positively for Jak, as he has succeeded in creating FUD (Fear in complaining to anyone else, Uncertainty of the project, Doubt about self)

To clarify further, Dom is not involved in the project in a day-to-day basis, as he is a senior manager. But Dom has recently fired a couple of developers last week, thinking what Jak says is right, but very few know the politics here that the issue is not with the DEV, QA, BA performance but with this PM Jak.

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    This is not an answer your question. But Before spending time on this issue, I would suggest to look for positions in other companies. – samarasa May 8 '13 at 20:28
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    Dear Deer Hunter, I agree that I can't bring in someone to support me and prove here that I am not involved in the politicking! This is the same issue in the real time too and my reason for asking for help here! I am not asking how to kick-out Jak, I want to know how to save this project, and innocent people getting fired and improve the work environment, by making Dom to hear the other side. thanks! – oneworld May 8 '13 at 21:15
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    Sounds like you are learning the hard way how little your bosses opinion of your value to the company is based on your actual work. – enderland May 8 '13 at 22:03
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    Check out officepolitics.com. They have a huge archive of advice columns dealing with this type of issue. You may find yours in there. – Amy Blankenship May 8 '13 at 22:11
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    If Jak steals any ideas you send him... why keep sending them to him? – Adam V May 9 '13 at 13:30

The way to 'handle' Jak is to:

1) Find the resume on your hard drive/email/online storage/etc.

2) Fix it up to be current.

3) Apply for some new jobs.

4) Forget Jak, and leave this whole mess behind you.

It sounds like things have gone too far off the rails, and as a developer you will not be able to fix the environment. Once in a while you will encounter places that are 'broken'. It doesn't matter whose fault it is (probably Dom's), but unless you are a senior manager willing to play politics as well, or have one as a friend, you will have a very hard time taking this guy down.

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If you like your boss or not, you need to be friends with your boss. He has power over you and can fire you, frustrate you and can make your life very difficult. But he can also give you interesting challenges and promote you eventually.

You made a very costly mistake by escalating against your boss. Remember, he can fire you and he has contacts with higher management. You won't win. Obviously this has turned into a toxic workplace where the relationship between you and your boss is ruined, there are negative emotions and your boss has higher management on his side.

There are a couple things you can do:

  1. Act out and try to escalate against your boss.
  2. Do nothing, stay in this workplace and leave it be.
  3. Talk about your frustrations with your boss. Clear out any emotions between you.
  4. Find another job.

As said, (1) will get you fired eventually. Nothing good will come out (unless you have friends in even higher management). (2) let you survive within the company, but at the cost of your career advancement. (3) will in fact help you out. Either it resolves the emotions and you have learned something about yourself or you come to the conclusion your boss is a real jerk. In either way it is very important information, because even if you go with (4), you don't want to make the same mistake twice.

At the moment you seem to opt for (1) and (2). You can do that off course, but don't complain if things get worse and emotions escalate. I would go with (3) and (4).

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    If you like your boss or not, you need to be friends with your boss. - No way, and shame on everyone who tries to get ahead in life by sucking up. – MrFox May 9 '13 at 17:06
  • Hmm...! Need to think deep! – oneworld May 10 '13 at 21:40

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