Last year, My company got a contract for a software development. I went to the client site (in a different country) for understanding requirements and stuff. Only one person (say Mr. A) was working on the project for almost a year and to shed his load, We got the contract. It was a good experience, I learned quickly and best part is We became very good friends. We occasionally used to share a drink after work and talk which is not related to work.

I return to my office after 3 months, setup team of 2 and started working.

After 6 months, my boss asked me to move out for another assignment and I handed over stuff to another person (Mr. X).

After couple of months, colleagues from that team started complaining me about Mr. X, saying "He is not a good leader" "He doesn't understand the project" etc. Mr. X used to spend lot of time talking on phone with Mr.A (Client side guy) about implementation. Even Mr. X travelled to Mr. A for similar training which I got. Things didn't improve.

After a year of my hand-over, Yesterday I met Mr. A as I was in same country for different work. We were talking and realized that He is frustrated. He spends lot of time on phone reducing his own productivity.

He feels that giving contract to my company was a mistake and it is hampering his performance and he might get low raise because he cannot finish his own work in time -- which was because he spends lot of time on phone talking with Offshore team.

He complained that He has to explain everything to Mr. X step by step. It's as good as doing that work by himself.

Even another team member told me that he is thinking of quiting the job because of Mr.X.

I am not sure how to handle this? I tried talking to Mr. X in the past about same issue but he brushed me off saying this is none of my business anymore.

For me, Personal side, it's case that a friend is suffering and on professional side, Company will not get contracts from same client again and might get bad publicity.

How should I deal with this? How it will impact if I directly talk with Mr.X's boss? Or as Mr. X said, I should stay away as it's none-of-my-business!

Update: Talked with my boss. Explained everything without hiding anything. Mr.X's boss and mine are different. My boss said, I will talk with Mr.X's boss in a positive way so that it will not hamper Mr.X as well! And he advised me to tell Mr.A to escalate this issue to higher level if problem remains for a month or so. It's good to make it official as it enables everyone in organization to respond/manage instead of being localized team issue.

  • 2
    I'm a bit confused about the roles of Mr. A and Mr. X here. Could you state clearly who is employed by whom? And could you checked whether A and X suddenly changed roles in your question?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:19
  • @gnasher729 Very sorry!! I edited question... I went with the emotional flow and messed it :-) Mr. A is the Client guy and Mr. X is everyone one complaining about!
    – Swanand
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:22
  • Everyone seems to agree that you must report Mr. A's complaints to your boss and others in your company. I think that in addition you should also encourage Mr. A to escalate his complaints to Mr. X's boss, his boss's boss, and on up to the company president if necessary. Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


Contact your boss and tell him what Mr. A told you in the way of feedback.

The two of you should be able to work out what to do next including who - you or your boss - should notify Mr. X's boss and how Mr. X's boss should be notified.

  1. I am reasonably assuming that company policy encourages both of you to notify Mr. X's boss about Mr. A's candid feedback. After all, you are all working for the same employer and you owe it to you employer to look out for them as long as no breach of law or ethics is involved. Consequences to company of failure to act: Reputational damage to the employer and potential loss of new revenues as new clients become harder to acquire.

  2. Mr. A is extremely frustrated. As Mr. A is a client of your former team, you probably owe it to Mr. A to do what you can to relieve his frustration and suffering from trying to work with Mr. X. Consequences from client of failure to act: 1. Reputational damage to the employer as employer's representative is performing at subpar level; 2. Contract with the client is not being fulfilled to the client's satisfaction; 3. Future new revenue losses as client fails to renew contract.

  3. Worse, people on Mr. X's team are seriously considering quitting because of the presence of Mr. X. If these people quit now, they won't have a good impression of the team and - guilt by association - they may not have a good impression of the company either for having Mr X on board. Consequences to team of failure to act: 1. Reputational damage to the team inside the company; 2. Team is no longer preferentially assigned to revenue producing clients, resulting in damage to the team members' careers; 3. Team encounters difficulties in recruiting and holding on to capable and star members.

  4. You - Yes, you. If you choose to do nothing and word gets out - most likely, from the client - that he spoke with you and strongly expressed dissatisfaction to you before he pulls the contract, you will have your management's hierarchy, your former team, your former boss on your back. All at once. And depending on how much is going to be lost in terms of revenues from the client, the fireworks may include a firing - yours. In that case, just be thankful that they are not the sort of employer that knee caps their people. Consequences to you of failure to act: 1. reputational damage to you as your management's hierarchy and your former team and your former boss wonder what kind of team player you are; 2. negative performance review at best and loss of job at worst, depending on the extent of the revenue loss.

I think all of the arrows point in the same direction: either or or your boss need to get in touch with Mr. X's boss and transmit to Mr's X's boss Mr. A's candid feedback. As professionals doing consulting work on behalf of your employer, the two of you need to look out for the company, the client and the team and not least, you. Mr. X comes in dead last, if he comes in at all in your consideration.

  • Your best answer this week.
    – Myles
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 15:59

It became your business when your company's customer (Mr. A) complained to you.

What you can do about it, however, depends on your company work culture. The least you can do is approach your boss and tell him that the customer complained to you about the progress of the project.

But I would advise you to keep this about the company and the project, not the people and their feelings. Mr. A's company has a contract with your company, and the progress of the contract is not satisfactory.


Every employee generally has the duty to make sure the company is Ok - preferably without stepping on someone else's toes. So the situation seems to be that the client was happy with your company when you ran a small team, and since X took your role, the client is getting more and more unhappy, and the small team is getting unhappy as well. And you found out because you and the client's employee A have not only business but also a private relationship.

I'd have a talk with yours and X's common manager; tell him the facts that you know, and that there is a very unhappy customer who is apparently thinking about cancelling your contract. Your boss may not even be aware of this. And see what happens.

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