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I am in a team of 3 senior developers. In our current assignment we were supposed to analyze a certain project and identify key areas to work on. After that, each of us was supposed to take one area and focus on implementing certain amount of tasks from that area with our own respective teams.

From us three he (colleague A) is the one with least knowledge about the project. He did not make any choice of his "own" area to focus on during the meeting. The other colleague and I did choose corresponding areas and it was agreed upon during the meeting.

The same day, after the meeting, I have found out that colleague A went talking to people behind my back about tasks from my chosen area. This has led to him being invited to a meeting where we both would be briefed on the subject.

I have found out that right after meeting, he secretly had a discussion with my manager where he got approval for doing exactly that.

So now, instead of working on his own, he "invited himself" behind my back to interfere with my work.

The manager told me that although that area is mine, for a "pre-discussion/pre-briefing" we might have multiple people sitting in meetings (including him) to "be able to understand all details" of what has to be done.

That colleague has a record in my projects of hijacking/softly taking-over our common work in the past or position himself as the number one contributor, even if our efforts were around 50/50.

He never did that right away. Rather he did it gradually with time. I am afraid that this is another case of such behavior now.

What can be done in such cases against this behavior? The manager is a very "hands-off" type with high turnover, cases of blind favoritism and bias. So, I have no idea how to react now.

  • Now that he's doing your work, would it be possible for you to switch to something else? – Stephan Branczyk Mar 1 at 21:49
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    That is a field I have previous knowledge about and it was simply logical that I take it. Also, if I start discussing that option with the manager, it will lead to questions. Our manager pretends that everyone works fine with each other and workplace conflicts are a fantasy. I'm sure he'll label me as a conflict person or unreliable, who promised to take the project and then refused. – Eval Mar 1 at 21:53
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    Personally, I'd pick the troublemaker label, because I'd say something like "I do not want to work with him. Either you allow me to do something else, or if you really want me to do that project, you let me do it on my own." – Stephan Branczyk Mar 1 at 22:00
  • I guess I'll go with that. I will tell my boss how suitably qualified my colleague happens to be for that task. So... perhaps, now that we have someone for it who'd do it just fine, I could concentrate on something else. – Eval Mar 1 at 22:54
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    You have to stop sharing assignments with this “colleague” he is using you... See the manager and get a different assignment. The suggestion of collaborate with him does not recognize the previous behaviour - this “colleague” sees you as a soft-touch... – Solar Mike Mar 2 at 6:32
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As things stand now, management will see your colleague as wanting to help you, and they can't fault that, unless there's a problem with that.

If the problem is incompetence, i.e. that your colleague would hinder more than help, bring it up as a problem to management - if it's good management, they wouldn't want you to be hindered. You may do this at a meeting, or as a private matter. The only reason to not discuss it with management is if you're not sure he or she would hinder you in your work.

But I read this as a fear your colleague will take credit for work you've done. Then, I think it best to wait until the project is finished, and if it's a success, make sure due credit comes your way. Sharing the credit should not be a problem. But stressing the work you've done for the company in meetings will only be appreciated by the management - again, if it's good management.

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    He is not incompetent. With time he will build upon my knowledge and his own research. After that he will use all possible tricks openly & covertly to take my assignment over if it becomes of any importance. It has happened before multiple times. – Eval Mar 3 at 12:29
  • @Eval From this, it sounds like there will be a conflict sooner or later. If you are not afraid of conflict but act, you may feel you have more control over developments. You can request to have him removed from your project now, or make sure you get due credit when the project is completed. If later (credit), make sure to stress your contributions. Again, this is to control developments in a direction that is good for you, and the more you are mentioned and the less your colleague is, the more important you seem to management. – Henrik Erlandsson Mar 5 at 14:05

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