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I work in an IT department with two others. My other colleague is a very confident type but not very knowledgable. He sometimes messes things up for others and people don't like him very much. Sometimes, he gets upset when others ask him for help. There are not very good references for him throughout the office. I consider myself to be a bit more senior than him and I usually help people and sometimes, they praise me. We both work in the same office.

Recently, he was supposed to make a migration of our servers and informed all the department managers of the downtime. I sent him an e-mail to first confirm with us the steps he will be taking, as we don't want him to repeat an unpleasant situation (he upgraded a account management system to a latest version that annoyed and confused a lot of people without telling them first etc.)

He had replied only „Yeah, I wouldn't have figured that out if you hadn't told me" out of the blue.

I have no idea why did he act this way. I seriously hope he does not see me as a rival due to our reputations. I simply wanted to confirm the changes. Not sure how should I work with this, as I am not an official „Team lead". His behavior troubles me, though.

How should I defuse this situation with him? Should I tell the higher management, HR...?

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    Do you have any responsibility in make sure the migration occurs properly (ignoring what happens if it goes wrong)? Your colleague might be viewing your confirmation email as you butting into their business when they have none. – Shadowzee Feb 6 at 23:08
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    @Shadowzee yes, I do. We are taken as a group of admins and I was also blamed for the failure of the accounting system upgrade, for example, and had to solve the resulting problems. – Joe Doe Feb 7 at 8:14
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You defuse the situation by letting it go. He may think you're trying to remind him of his failure and responded rudely.

If the upgrade goes well, then he probably learned from the last mistake, and probably didn't need your guidance.

If the upgrade doesn't go well, that's up to your manager to deal with.

If your manager asked you to help him, that's different, but otherwise, the best way to get along with co-workers is to assume they are competent, or at least learning from their mistakes. And as long as their mistakes or poor attitudes don't get in the way of your own work, let your manager deal with it.

If the upgrade doesn't go well and it does impede your work, then deal with that, with your manager. But let the rudeness go.

Update: You say in the comments that your boss has asked you to help and you are getting some blame and subsequent work when the previous upgrade did not work.

Therefore, you still ignore the rudeness, but you should go to your boss. Let him know that your co-worker didn't seem to take your input well and that you're going to let co-worker handle the update, unless your boss would like to step in. Let the boss re-iterate to your co-worker that your input is part of the process.

  • Yes, I got asked to help my colleague prevent future system problems because of his reputation. The accounting system upgrade actually got into my work, ex. people called me after work to help me with problems that surfaced in the new version. – Joe Doe Feb 7 at 8:16
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I think the easiest way you could do this is to start documenting the steps on how to migrate the servers, although it may not be viable if you only have one set of servers that will only be migrated once.

What you can do is send him an email with the migration steps and ask him to check if there are any issues with the documentation. Something along the lines of. "Hey XXX, since you are migrating the servers, can you double check that the documentation is up to date and add in anything new that occurs during the migration". In the worst case scenario, your colleague doesn't document his work and when he gets pulled up for it you can tell him that you sent him the documentation. In the best case, you get newly updated documentation steps.

You can also CC in your manager, since you are requesting your colleague to essentially perform extra work by fixing the documentation. Most managers should be perfectly fine with Documenting a process (you should ideally document anything), but you should double check with them before you CC them in to make sure they are okay with it.

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