I have been in my current job for almost 2 months, where I have started with 5 other new starters. We have been doing an example project in order to get to grips with the technology and work that is involved.

I have recently been working on a number of different tasks, and I have taken responsibility for what I do, as well as owning up when it’s my mistake. I have been finding two of the new starters quite frustrating, due to the fact that they will have a private conversation (on slack) with our manager/trainer, ask a question, receive an answer and then tell me or someone else in the team what our manager has said.

I feel very frustrated about this due to the tone that these colleagues speak to me in, as well as the general demeanour when this conversation is passed on to myself or the rest of the team, in addition I don’t understand why these conversations are being had in private as it does not allow anyone else to voice what is going on.

I have become especially frustrated today when one of these colleagues implied, in a private call, that I had deliberately done a task wrong in a section of the project, when I had in fact nothing to do with the task.

How could I improve this situation while saying to these colleagues that it is not fair in how they treat myself and others in the team?

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? What is the right approach to handle bossy co-worker?
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 23, 2021 at 12:38
  • 1
    Who initially came up with the question, you or them ? There's a difference between having a question, asking the boss and sharing the answer with the team, vs acting as a middleman between the boss and the rest of the team
    – Siorki
    Commented Nov 24, 2021 at 13:19

4 Answers 4


Welcome to the beautiful (cough cough) world of office politics.

You started with five other people. You are all, right now, the new group, and you have a shared identity of being the group of people that are doing that one trial project.

If you want to be known, you need to make sure that people start seeing you as an individual. What your team mates are doing, is making themselves stand out.

You do not stand out by how good your work is, you stand out by how good you are in selling yourself. If you seem to be doing a lot of work (asking questions for the whole team, communicating this to the team), people notice you as being proactive, present and helpful. People perceive you as a team player and somebody who takes the lead in your team.

That is what these colleagues are doing. Don't talk to them about fairness. That will not solve the problem. Make yourself and your work known within your company. People will not notice you otherwise.

This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but the fact is that it is often unfair.

Here is a link to a good answer on the importance of visibility in the workplace


It isn't up to you to decide what conversations other people are allowed to have. A colleague speaking with their manager is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it sounds like you might benefit from getting more involved with your manager yourself.

ask a question, receive an answer and then tell me or someone else in the team what our manager has said.

All they are doing in this instance is passing on the information they have been given. It shouldn't matter if that information was given to them privately or otherwise. For all you know, your manager might have even asked them to pass it on to the rest of the team.

If you have any doubts about the credibility of what they say then confirm it with your manager. Just drop you manager a message/email saying what was stated and that you just wanted to check it was correct before actioning it.

that I had deliberately done a task wrong in a section of the project, when I had in fact nothing to do with the task.

Now this point does seem concerning. I can understand why you are frustrated by this, and perhaps this is ultimately what is fuelling your insecurity about the other things to.

First of all, make sure you understood the person correctly. Is there a chance they didn't mean it the way you think they did? Maybe a language/culture barrier, or maybe they just don't have strong communication skills?

If you are certain they meant what they said, then I would suggest you raise this with your manager directly. Try to be calm about it, and ensure you word it like you are trying to improve the relationship rather than trying to place blame.

It is important that your manager is clear in understanding that you would never purposefully sabotage the work, even if you had been doing that work (which you wasn't).

In Summary

Raise any concerns you have with your manager directly. It will improve your relationship with your manager, and they are also in the best position to help you resolve the problems.


If this team of newbies is a temporary team, then Jeroen's answer is the one to look at. This is time to show off a bit and get known.

However, if this team is going to be your team going forward, or this was happening in a more established team. I'd recommend something like a team charter (there's plenty information on these if you google). These are common in agile environments but perfectly applicable to any team. This would define things like how you communicate (e.g. we use a common slack channel for all work chat) when you communicate (e.g. we have a meeting for an hour every two weeks to discuss progress) and things like where you keep your shared knowledge.


musefan is on the right track as an answer. But for introverts like myself, it is just shy of the "push", though it gets close with the summary section.

First of all, let the others talk with the manager, it is their prerogative and privilege. The same privilege you have.

You need to start talking to your manager more. Even if your job is shoveling coal into the furnace, since you are doing the job, you should have ideas/questions/concerns to bring up to the manager. Maybe more work can be done with a bigger shovel, suggest bigger shovels. Maybe the furnace door could use a heat resistant curtain to keep the heat in. Standardize the way the coal is stacked so that it is easier to shovel, etc.

Directly in your case, your first concern to bring up with your manager is asking why your colleague thought you were involved with the task that was done wrong. Maybe it should have been your task, but no one told you? If that task still needs doing or fixing, offer to do it.

If they can bring up stuff with your manager casually, then it sounds like the manager (like proper managers) have an open door/inquiry police. Use it. I can't watercooler banter, or shit the breeze, at all (Aspergers/Spectrum). So I am awkward when it is done around me or to me, instead I bring up anything I am thinking about regarding the job in general or my task. Spin complaints into concerns or opportunities for self/process improvements. Casually bring up or brainstorm big issues bit by bit to gauge with the manager whether it is something worth tackling, etc. This can lead to opportunities for you to champion and lead these initiatives.

Unless you want to be a quiet/invisible worker drone. Nothing wrong with that, they can be/are useful to have at a team. Pick and live the path that fits you. (you'll pick the wrong path sometimes, but those are lessons learned, I dabbled in management for example, definitely not for me).

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