I'm currently working in a team where one of the members doesn't accept critique. Being from a high-rated school and considering himself an elite, this person doesn't like to be contradicted nor criticized, including when he talks on subjects which are not his domain of expertise.
Since I've always been working with people who easily accept and welcome critique, considering it as an opportunity to improve within a team, I have a hard time to disguise and dissimulate my feedback when it's negative. If I notice that something is wrong, by habit, I tell straightforward that this is wrong and why, and I'm unable to do it differently, in a way politicians do.
Logically, my bad manners are vexing to this person, creating anger and conflict which are currently affecting only us, but sooner or later will be an issue for the whole team.
Actually, I think about four alternatives:
I can avoid criticizing anything coming from this person, while still criticizing other people who accept being criticized. The good point is that it will avoid anger and conflict, the disadvantage being the fact that since I would still criticize other people, the team will believe that I tacitly agree with everything said by this touchy person, even when I'm not.
I can also avoid criticizing anyone in the team. The good point is that it would avoid anger while not having the drawback of the first alternative. The disadvantage, still, is that my opinion wouldn't count any longer and I wouldn't be visible inside a team, or be perceived as "a guy who agrees with everything and doesn't have his own opinion".
Finally, I can continue telling my opinion in the only straightforward way I know, given that it's disturbing to be yelling at by phone and would, soon or later, cause big trouble either to me alone or to the whole team.
Optionally, I can also tell during the meetings in front of everyone things like: "Well, I totally disagree, but I don't want to anger <the name of the touchy person>, so I keep silence on this point", given that it would clearly be a provocation and probably would bring more harm than good.
Discussing the issue all together within a team is not an alternative, given the current relations. "Talking to the boss" is not possible neither, since there is no boss (we're a start-up where every one is considered having the same hierarchical status).
I'm pretty sure other people with more experience than mine had the same issue and dealt with it.
What should I do until I'm able to quit the team? Any suggestions?