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Lately, I have observed that I have been frequently engaging in arguments with my senior colleagues to whom I report the work I do. These arguments are not in a negative way but most of the times, the senior colleague does not agree with the approach I wish to take in completing the task and at the end, I get disappointed because I had to go with his way. I would be happy to change my approach if his explanations are convincing enough and I do some modifications because sometimes he has a valid point.But because a lot of times, I am not satisfied with the work I do because I did not took my approach I get demotivated.

How could I approach this?

I try my best to explain my approach but many time, he scrap the full approach and says to go by his new approach.

I am not sure how to handle this type of situtation.

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Your senior colleagues likely assess every possibile solution according to multiple criteria. Those could be:

  • some fundamental principles they are trying to follow
  • architecture decisions
  • easiness of maintainability and testability
  • choice of technologies that fit the company ecosystem (or maybe the easiness of acquiring new staff)
  • and so on...

There might be multiple reasons where they are coming from. The fundamental question is whether their reasoning is conveyed to you in a manner you can comprehend. Ask extra questions to ensure you really grasp their explanations. Maybe nature of the matters being discussed is so complex verbal communication is not enough. Does any documentation exist to further onboard you to these topics? If not you can volunteer to start creating one to further aid the knowledge sharing process. The idea here is to show your best intentions that you are really trying to understand their message. Only then you are in a position to challenge their recommendations. Even if that's the case are you doing this in a diplomatic way? If every discussion ends in an argument that's a strong indication something is wrong with your attitude. If you don't agree be polite.

Tricks like "I can see why are you suggesting A and why this could get us to the market quicker, but with a little bit of extra effort doing B we would have great advantage of.. Here's my plan how can we do it ... What do you think guys , does it make any sense?" could help.

You need be humble and be ready to accept they may refuse anyway. That's just life. If those are tiny details at the end of the day those might not even matter, it's way more important you send the right vibe of being a team player. If arguments with those guys are reoccurring theme you put yourself in a really bad place. They will feel they are wasting their energy and feel emotionally drained on pointless (from their perspective) discussions. That's a recipe for a negative bias towards you. You really don't want that.

No matter what, your main goal should be building relations with those guys. They might be wrong sometimes, but it doesn't really matter, they will most likely be there for a long time for better or worse.

Do your best showing attitude of an open minded guy, willing to learn and doing things someone requests even when you are not 100% convinced. The ability to cope with not being right every time might be a valuable lesson to learn. Keep your ego in check.

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I am not sure how to handle this type of situation.

This is something called learning. Them being a senior and being high in your reporting hierarchy, it's usually usual that they are more experienced and responsible for more than just one part of the product / code. Unless they provided a completely wrong / outdated / bad solution and you can prove likewise, I don't think you are to decide the approach. They might be thinking of various other aspects from a high-level view which you are completely unaware of.

Instead of getting demotivated, do your homework and ask questions. If they scrap your design idea and provide you a new one, accept that, get back to your seat and do your research. Find out the pros and cons, list them, and then, based on the outcome

  • Either you'll start trusting them / their decisions and will be inclined to learn more
  • Can go back to them, show that your approach was better and ask for more clarifications. Again, you'll learn more.

You might be surprised by the outcome.

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  • Good answer - I would add that you can also ask the senior how and why they came to their approach over yours. If it is actually the better approach, they should be able to back it up, and it is part of their role as a senior to help the juniors learn.
    – taffy
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 13:57
  • 3
    @taffy That's fine, but I'd recommend doing the background research before asking them, so when they answer, at least the asker will be able to relate. Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 14:02

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