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Is it fine to make myself visible in the company when, in fact, I have more experience and know-how than my new senior colleague?

The reason I do this is that he was "appointed from above" and is trying to get all credit for what I do as well as the team I manage. He is with us since just a few months and has been asked to help reorganize us, but when technical questions are asked, people go to him and he sometimes even lies to them, or tells something vague and random, and then commands me to explain more details.

Wouldn't it be better (for both, actually) if I just try and gain more visibility as the "go-to" person in my function?

Maybe my mistake in the first place was to stay in the shadows, and now it's time to come out..?

A FEW CLARIFICATIONS: Let me clarify that he was not officially made the go-to person of my team. Also, officially, I am the manager of my team and my boss has told me in all reviews and 1-1s that I am doing a great job and should keep doing what I am doing. What drives me so much to counter this person is that he is literally giving false information about our team and the technical processes. He literally doesn't know what we are doing and I find it hard to understand why he is even here. When he started I helped him a lot, but suddenly he started becoming bossy and take on a more superior attitude though nothing is official yet.

I simply believe that a battle has started where he is trying to prove that he can outsmart me in making our team work better - but he is doing so by using all my suggestions and all I have managed. AND then he gives wrong information about us. I believe that if I don't address this fast, it WILL put me into the backstage sooner or later, and I already start noticing the symptoms

marked as duplicate by CMW, jcmeloni, Jim G., Michael Grubey, IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 7 '14 at 19:51

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  • 2
    Very relevant and related question. – enderland Apr 3 '14 at 22:54
  • You should ask your what your supervisor wants you to do. – Donald Apr 4 '14 at 15:57
  • U have very similar situation as me. I would say let people know what u do in the same manner as he does. But keep in mind senior is always given more priority no matter how much you are right or know-how.. – Harsh Baid Apr 4 '14 at 18:08
  • Note again that technically he is not my supervisor - though he might become and I want to prevent that from happening in the first place. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 23:50
  • This question would probably be improved without the rant at the end. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 7 '14 at 19:51
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You shouldn't need to let everyone know. Become this organically.

It's likely if you "let everyone know", you will come off as arrogant. It's far better for the senior colleague to point people your way when they ask him questions about things you have more experience with.

  • 1
    How else do I gain visibility in a proactive way? When I say "let everyone know", I mean going to people proactively and helping them when they request stuff from the senior colleague and he says random stuff; updating my profile in the internal social network/messaging system as well as LinkedIn, etc. I wouldn't go to people actually telling them "Hey, our new guy knows nothing, come to me", but simply ensure they know who knows what. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 6:23
  • Would the downvoter care to comment so I can improve the answer? – Codeman Apr 4 '14 at 17:28
  • @AntarcticGorillas: People are very adept at finding out where the well of knowledge really lies. When they hear nonsense from one person, who then points them to you, then over time they'll just start going to you directly. Sure it will take some time, but Pheonixblade9 has the gist of it: just be patient and it'll happen. – NotMe Aug 28 '14 at 1:06
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Instead of attempting office subterfuge, and risking the ire of your new boss, come to him/her honestly and offer your help to train him/her on the systems that you are expert in.

Your new boss will hopefully take this offer to help positively. You can't change that s/he is your new boss, but you can do your best to influence your new relationship so that it is positive and good for both of your careers. If your new boss looks good because of you, you both win. And if you become his/her protégé, you could end up positively affecting your career prospects at the current job.

Don't be sour over what happened. Continue to be the go-to guy, but make sure your new boss goes to you, as well.

  • He is technically not my boss (yet), but someone "looking after" my team (it's never said that he looks after me). That's why I thought I may still have some time to prove myself. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 6:19
  • Also... rather than "subterfuge", I am doing this very openly and transparently. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 6:24
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    @AntarcticGorillas - I hate to be that guy but if your ream didn't need "looking after" this person likely would not be there. – Donald Apr 4 '14 at 15:59
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It is not alright to do this. There are at least 3 possibilities for this person being placed in this position that you need to consider:

  1. You are not actually viewed as the go-to person in the company
  2. You are the go-to person for technical knowledge but have some other shortcoming that necessitates the company bringing this person in
  3. This person is politically connected or the company is otherwise bouncing him around until someone figures out how to fire him.

Based on the information provided I would rule out #1 since he asks you to provide details in meetings. That means (based on the limited data I have) that it is likely #2 or #3. In that case your course of action is the same for either case.

You need to disregard your personal feelings of being slighted or devalued and instead work to "prove" yourself to this new person. You may consider this to be unnecessary given your superior technical knowledge but companies value Emotional Intelligence as much, or more, than technical knowledge. Emotional Intelligent employees find ways to work easily with their co-workers and don't create additional management administrative burdens.

I suggest you ask this person for a private meeting and solicit his feedback regarding what areas of improvement you need to focus on. This will stroke his ego by implying you value his thoughts and opinions. It may also provide you valuable insight into why he was moved to your division. If he says you need to improve on management skills or organizational behavior related skills then it suggests the company views you as strong technically but weak managerially.

I suggest you do the same with your current boss and if possible with the person who placed this new person in your department.

If your technical knowledge is that much better than this new persons, then everyone in the company will know sooner or later. You're better off to prove that you are technically knowledgeable and a team player that helps the corporation as a whole.

Regardless of whether you choose to accept the above suggestions, there is one rule you should never violate in the workplace - never undermine a co-worker or superior in a public setting or behind their back. If you have issues with a person, discuss it with them in a private setting - without emotion. Otherwise you will be viewed as a backstabbing & untrustworthy employee by your superiors. Your co-workers will also assume that if you are talking about someone else behind their back you're probably talking about them behind their back with others.

  • Just one clarification: I have been told by everyone (including him) that I have great managerial skills and they want me to stay on the managerial path. They haven't explained to me clearly why this guy is here though I feel like many of my managerial responsibilities are handled by him. I had reviews with my boss and my department head for my role as a junior/middle manager and they say I do a perfect job. My current role is NOT technical, though I was promoted from a technical one. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 23:55
  • Good to know. I'd bet it's #3 then. I'd try to make him as successful as possible as that will reflect directly on you. He's been bounced before, only difference here is you so while he will gain some recognition you will gain more from proving your managerial skills (you have to manage up as well as down in a corporation). Plus others will know that this person can only be successful if put in with a strong team. Good luck – FrankRizzo Apr 7 '14 at 16:08
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Is it alright to let everyone in the company know that I am the “go-to” person, and not my new senior colleague?

If management appointed this new senior colleague to be the "go-to" person, then No, it is not alright for you to ignore the obvious intent by management and attempt to co-opt the role.

There's a reason why this person was hired. Perhaps you need to discuss that with your boss, ask how this affects your role, and perform your revised role to the best of your abilities. Attempting to sabotage a new hire isn't likely to help your career.

  • I cannot agree with this answer more. If you attempt to wedge yourself into a position, its unlikely your mangement will appreciate it, better to allow that to happen on its own. If you cannot accept this fact, I suggest talking to your supervisor, part of his job is to solve this sort of problem. – Donald Apr 4 '14 at 16:01
  • Joe - he was NOT appointed to be the go-to person. I have been told in my review that I am the manager of my team and I am doing a great job. He just appeared almost out of nowhere. – AntarcticGorillas Apr 4 '14 at 23:59
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It looks like nature is taking its course, namely people are coming to you for actual answers. It is probably only a matter of time until they bypass him altogether as irrelevant.

Once his management starts to come directly to you for answers and bypasses him, his game is up.

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