A colleague of mine is extremely popular, and is growing in influence.

He can be very direct and undermining when there are disagreements between us from wanting to be right. He has displayed similar behaviour with other people, but it is currently being overlooked due to favoritism.

Furthermore, I am unhappy with him, because I feel that he has presented me in an unfavourable light with people in the organisation who have influence over my promotion prospects.

I have lodged a complaint to Senior management, but I'm worried I won't be taken seriously.

What is the best way to approach this so that the situation is resolved in a fair way?

  • 1
    Should be in Interpersonal Skills maybe?
    – RedSonja
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:05
  • 1
    @RedSonja Still with a workplace scenario. Job could be on the line, promotions affected etc..
    – Twyxz
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:34
  • @bobo2000 do you have any proof that he's presenting you in an unfavourable light? Also why wouldn't you be taken seriously because he is "popular" this person I assume is not a manager and should not have any influence amongst superiors otherwise he'd be promoted if that were how it worked
    – Twyxz
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:37
  • 2
    @bobo2000 And you're sure it's because of this person?
    – Twyxz
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 13:26
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    @Twyxz yes, since these people have never worked with me to form such an opinion. This person can be very convincing when he wants to be.
    – bobo2000
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 13:43

3 Answers 3


He has displayed similar behaviour with other people

This is the key. If you complain alone, there is a chance it won't be taken seriously, but if a whole group complains together to the management, with several examples of bad behaviour, then they can't overlook the problem anymore.

Several testimonies overlapping with each other would always be better than a single complain

  • 1
    Oh yes they can : they play the "divide and conquer" game or at least "divide and ignore" - by making promises to each individual with the instructions to keep quiet... seen it happen...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:18
  • @SolarMike sure, this can be done, but it's another problem. OP was afraid of not beeing taken seriously, you talk about managers that know that there is a problem but don't want to resolve it, a quite diferent situation in my opinion
    – Kepotx
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:21
  • It was your suggestion that "management can't ignore the problem anymore" that I responded to...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 12:22

I have lodged a complaint to Senior management, but I'm worried I won't be taken seriously.

This might be an issue. As a senior manager with little visibility into every-day things, I would see a well-liked subordinate and someone who has an axe to grind. I'm making a lot of assumptions here, but I think this is an angle that should be considered.

Your colleague is excellent at playing politics. Do you know why totalitarian regimes get a lot of bad press? Because they do impactful things in a very visible way. Lodging a formal complain is very visible and impactful, because it ensures that someone will look at it, someone will take some action, and someone will be seen as looking into it and taking action. It creates a paper trail. It becomes official.

Convincing a senior manager to reprimand a star employee because you don't like him is a tough sell. It's much easier for the manager to find a way to deal with it which doesn't require impactful action on his side. He might, for example, decide to "take it under advisement", which is management-speak for go F yourself.

So your colleague is excellent at playing politics, and you have decided to take him on on his own terms. Let me explain: This guy said something which impacts your promotion (and career). You have, in turn, decided to target him, instead of any of the factors that gave him a foothold to put in a bad word against you, assuming that he ever did.

I would instead focus on my own performance and my boss's expectations of me. I would also push for regular one-on-one chats with my boss to better influence him, preferably without focusing my ire on a star employee.

I can't be any more specific cause I don't know the details of your issue, but I will sum all this up as: Fight the battle you can win.

  • Nailed it! especially the summation.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 10:54

You need to prove unprofessional or inappropriate behaviour.

THEN you go with that papertrail / witness statement complaining.

From what you told us, this seems not to be the case and your complaint might be completely ignored / downplayed and casts you in a bad light.

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