One of our colleagues is difficult to work with. They can be obnoxious , rude and quick to complain.

In the team they are working in, people are afraid of them and when there is any confrontational situation, people will concede to avoid escalating further. When there are situations where a decision needs to be made, colleague always gets their way otherwise will kick up a stink.

The issue is where the colleague is good at what they do , where the company needs them to meet targets. Colleague knows this and if anyone has the courage to stand up to them they will threaten the company with leaving.

For that reason management and everyone else lets them get away with their behaviour. For example they will pick and choose which working agreements apply to them which everyone else follows.

The issue I have in my role is where I’m responsible for giving guidance to the team over their working practices but because of this colleague I sometimes find them to be obstructive. They can override team decisions. Follow process when it suits them and quick to criticize others. Spoken to my boss about them but my boss just lets them be for reasons mentioned.

Any advice on how to deal with people like this?

  • 10
    Let them go is the obvious answer. No matter how good they are, the harm to the team is evident.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 12:42
  • 2
    Crossed my mind. None of my managers have the balls to make that decision.
    – bobo2000
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 12:47
  • 1
    Which, of course, only harms the team even more. Sorry you are in this situation.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 12:48
  • 1
    In one ear out the other for me. They totally annoy me though.
    – bobo2000
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 12:59
  • 3
    You're saying "colleague". That implies you aren't in their management chain. That means your options are talking to management, trying to work with them directly as a peer to fix it, or declaring it Someone Else's Problem it Someone Else's Problem and ignoring or avoiding them (perhaps transferring to a position where you don't have to deal with them, or as a last resort finding a job elsewhere). If there are "quite a few toxic people", that is abnormal and leaving seems the best option... assuming that this really is the case rather than your needing to recalibrate your own expectations.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


There is no way in turning this around. A better person would have not abused their position. A better company would have stopped the abuse. You have neither. They have abused their position and it worked for them. Why would they change?

The only way out of this is actually getting the rest of the team into a position to take over for this person. You can frame it as you want. Not wanting to have a bus factor of one. Cross training your team. Hire another expert for backup. Dissolve their unique selling point.

There is a good chance the company does not want that, because it costs money. Then you are really out of options. But you can try.

  • 3
    Yeah you are right. It’s too entrenched. My boss has told me to not rock the boat so I’m biting my tongue with certain characters
    – bobo2000
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 13:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .