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I am quite new to this company which has a very small department for my particular profession. Everyone in this department comes from other professions and they have poor knowledge about it.

There is one coworker which is working on similar projects as me and very often I end up working with him. Because of seniority he has the final say in pretty much every decision along the way, and they are usually poorly thought decisions which only cost us more work down the road.

Recently my boss has offered me more responsibility and I am willing to accept the offer, however I would like to request that I do not collaborate with this coworker anymore, that is I would like to manage my own projects and make my own decisions.

How can I achieve this without alienating everyone at work (to ruin the relationship with the coworker and to appear arrogant to my boss)?

Trying to win over the hearts and minds of the people involved by showing them why my choices are better is not really an option because of a "just get it done" mentality.

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  • What extra responsibilities did your boss offer?
    – sf02
    Jun 1, 2020 at 18:36
  • @sf02 Access to data which would allow me to make better suggestions which could have a greater benefit to the company. The coworker would inevitably get involved in this. Jun 1, 2020 at 19:01
  • Are you sure your colleague isn't right in a way you can't see yet? Sometimes we pick a path with a rock to avoid a cliff :) Jun 2, 2020 at 3:31

3 Answers 3

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"Because of seniority he has the final say in pretty much every decision along the way, and they are usually poorly thought decisions which only cost us more work down the road."

"I would like to manage my own projects and make my own decisions."

"Trying to win over the hearts and minds of the people involved by showing them why my choices are better is not really an option because of a "just get it done" mentality."

You are asking to be made the decision maker for your projects without having to have the difficult conversation of why your choices are better. This is precisely why you do not get along with your coworker, because you don't have authority to debate his solutions.

The stance I recommend you take is that you ask your manager that you be given authority over running your own projects, but use that authority to change your team's approach to making decisions. Take the time to research and justify why one choice is better than another and try to reach consensus. You have to time box the conversation though if the team cannot reach consensus. Because you are leading the project you have ability to make a call on the team's behalf as well.

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So basically:

  1. You’re better at this job than everyone else.

  2. You make better choices, but everyone else would rather just get the project done, whether it’s done right / well or not.

If your perceptions are correct, you should find a job with a better company.

If your perceptions are incorrect, your boss will probably set you straight pretty quick.

Either way, you have nothing to lose by talking with your boss. Lay it on the line and see what he / she says. Be respectful / professional, but don’t sugar coat it. If your boss appreciates your argument and directness, you now have a better job. If not, you have a golden opportunity to go find a new job.

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    But be careful to walk the line between the person and the work. The work was insufficient, not the person was incompetent. It's easier if you talk about the work, not the person Jun 2, 2020 at 3:33
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I suggest you focus on two other aspects of your question:

  1. "Everyone in this department comes from other professions and they have poor knowledge about it."
  2. "Because of seniority he has the final say."

Offer to your boss to identify shortcomings in knowledge your coworkers have (without naming individuals), and then to propose resources to rectify that. Also, tell your boss that you must have equal say in projects that you contribute substantially to. Tell boss frankly about your experiences with senior coworker in confidence to motivate this. I doubt you can avoid this coworker (small department) or appearing arrogant but this should help.

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