I have trouble taking longer periods of vacation due to the fact that many of my specialist knowledge and experiences are unique and I have not trained anyone on those skills.

One of the main reasons for that is that I don't trust anyone on my team to do my process the way I do, or to do it without compromising my position.

I am the senior team leader and none in my team acknowledges that and are competing for my position, as well as constantly scrutinizing and criticising. How to handle this?

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    You can't have it both ways: either you trust your team and train them to takeover from you so that you can take longer vacations, or you be comfortable as you are with your insecurities and take onl;y shorter vacations since you trust no one. I don't think you have the best interests of your employer at heart since I expect that your setup will fall apart the minute you get run over by a truck - your employer will be in quite a predicament. I am not sure either that you did such a great job with documenting your work so that somebody can take over from you, given your insecurities. Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 11:32
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    You might want to stop using the word "team". Teams don't behave this way. Perhaps group or "cackle" would be more appropriate. Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 11:34
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    Feeling insecure in a team is not so good. Since you mentioned you're the Senior TL, try to organize your team so everyone in your team feel comfortable and most important thing "build trust" in you.
    – Gotcha
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 12:56

3 Answers 3


When you have no people in your team that you can trust, there is one of two things happening:

  • You have trust issues, and you need to learn to let go. Accept that if someone does the job slightly different, that might still be acceptable. In addition, start investing in your team, transfer your knowledge and help them grow. No one starts off as an expert, everyone (including you) needed to grow, and get chances to excel from their boss.
  • The people you work with are actually not trustworthy. In this case you need to have a serious talk with your boss and try and get better people hired on your team.

Probably the truth is somewhat in the middle. However, the first point is something your have much more control over, so I would focus on that. And if your company culture does not reward letting other people grow (because of competition), you could try and change that in concert with your boss and the team. This, however, can be a lengthy process.

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    +1 nice point, transfer your knowledge and help them grow. Senior guys should consider it.
    – Gotcha
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 12:59

One of the main reasons for that is that I don't trust anyone on my team to do my process the way I do, or to do it without compromising my position. Ideally you would be able to hire people, adjust the process or take the time to train them. Not everyone has this luxury.

I am the senior team leader and none in my team acknowledges that and are competing for my position, as well as constantly scrutinizing and criticizing.

I suggest you pick someone as the most suitable candidate and explicitly tell them your expectations. They don't respect your position, maybe a few weeks in your shoes will convince the. There are good ways to compete for positions and bad ways. Hopefully this person will demonstrate the good ways. Remember, if you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

I don't want to be one to judge, but you make it sound like you feel you are automatically entitled to be respected because of your position. Start modeling for your team and enforcing some rules on how scrutiny and criticism should be handled within the team. I suggest you don't declare yourself the exception to these rules. Maybe the reason no one can do things your way is because you have made things so complex in order to keep your job. This paranoia is going to cost you in the long run. If you can't make your team better (Being able to go on vacation without everything falling apart is a start.), it may be difficult for you to advance. You'll enjoy your job much more.


You can't expect anyone on your team to run a process the way you do if you haven't shown them how you do it!

Your basic mistake is optimizing for your current position instead of your next one, which is going to hurt you both in your current position and in seeking your next one. I think we sometimes have this thought process that, if things are currently going well for us, if we continue as we have been, things will continue to go well; there's more risk in changing, even if for the better, than to maintain an acceptable status quo. That's wrong.

It's certainly possible that, if you share your knowledge, one of your teammates will surpass you in skill and take over your position. But in order for your teammate to take over your position, the position must be available, so you may be promoted. Even in the doomsday scenario in which you're dismissed as redundant after you've shared your knowledge, you retain your leadership skills and successes to discuss in interviews for your next position. Regardless, you'll get a happier and more effective team (and likely better performance reviews), possibly a raise, and definitely more comfortable vacations.

It is also possible that, if you don't share your knowledge, your superiors will hear complaints from your team—keep in mind that, if you think your teammates are vying for your position, it's probably because they think they'd make a better leader (from what you've said, they're probably right); if you become a better leader first, they'll likely back down—realize that your team is turning out suboptimal work, and bring in someone who can and will share her knowledge to take over your position. In this case, it's not likely to be one of your teammates, as you hadn't trained them, but an outsider. And from where does the money come to pay for a more effective outsider? From your salary once you've been dismissed or demoted you for poor performance, which doesn't leave you with much good to discuss in future interviews.

The problem you're seeing is a symptom of a larger one, which is why none of us can offer quick-fix "just have them send a daily check-in email" advice here; you can't treat cancer with aspirin, after all. No matter what you do, you'll soon have plenty of "vacation" time, but if you choose to share your knowledge instead of greedily clawing your current position, you're more likely to also have the money to pay for it.

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