Working in a small dev team we are having difficult time agreeing on technical decisions. Not always but sometimes my colleagues makes prejudiced comments about my work. These comments are so obvious that I even documented them and proved to my manager.

My manager and I already sat down to find a solution to this problem, initially we decided to have a team meeting with everyone and asserted on importance of team working but little changed.

(Asking on behalf of my manager) How to deal with the possibility of resistance from the rest of the team because of promoting me ?

My manager and rest of management team believe I am the best person in the team for this because of vast contributions, product & technical knowledge & off course leadership skills.

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    – enderland
    May 4, 2017 at 18:05

5 Answers 5


If you want that promotion then you need to do one thing. Get the team on your side. As long as the team opposes you, then you are unqualified to be their lead and promoting you would be a disaster for the team because they will resist everything you do and increase their efforts to look bad.

This is especially true if you are appointed to the lead position without the chance for any of them to compete for it and make their own case as to why they should get it. They will resent that you got a promotion many of them would have wanted without a fair shot at it. So you start out being lead with a team that resents you for multiple reasons. There is little chance of a good outcome.

So first you need to learn the people skills to get people to want to work with you. You need to read books like How to Win Friends and Influence People and put the techniques to practice. You need to read other books on how to deal with difficult people to see how you can help them learn to do the things they needs to do. Some training on mentoring and coaching would work too. Above all you need to learn how to present your technical choices in a way that sells people on why you want to do it that way and you need to listen to their ideas and incorporate them with your ideas.

  • +1 I really liked your answer specially the last paragraph. My mind somehow told me people skills are all about ass kissing but with your explanation seems like it's more then that. I will definitely search on this :) May 4, 2017 at 6:42
  • Would you please shed some more lights on last para ? e.g. who should be mentoring me, maybe my manager but if they are too weak to handle difficult situations as I described in comments on my question. Thank you May 4, 2017 at 11:11
  • You can learn how not to do things from bad managers! I learn from every single person I have contact with in one way or another. You don't need one specific mentor. Office politics and people skills are about learning to be effective in getting things done because people are the ones making the decisions and implementing them, you need people skills.
    – HLGEM
    May 4, 2017 at 13:57

We need a technical lead & I am the best person in team for this because of vast contributions, product & technical knowledge

I disagree with this statement and I think that this statement is where the problem lies. Nowhere in that statement or in the rest of your posting, is there a demonstration of leadership skills. The lead part of technical lead is more important than the technical.

Successful leaders don't lead by mandate. They are able to lead because the team is willing to follow, which seems not to be the case here. A leader needs to have the respect of the team, and that is earned, not defined by some organizational team.

I'd rather have TL with good technical skills and great leadership skills over one with great technical skills and good leadership skills, any day of the week. A good TL recognizes that they are not always right and that listening to their team is the best way to make good technical decisions. The still has to make the decision in the end, but that should come from a thoughtful process reviewing everyone's input.

When a TL is promoted from within the team and that person does not already have the respect of the other team members (as evidenced by your own manager's reluctance), I think that team is destined for failure.

  • 9
    The best technical manager I had rarely made decisions based on his own technical knowledge. He was very, very good at asking the right questions, listening to the answers, and making a reasonable decision. I did not always agree with what he decided, but I always knew my reasoning had been heard and considered, even if other points seemed stronger to him. May 2, 2017 at 13:49
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    In my mind, there's a difference between a technical lead and a team lead. A technical lead has the final say in technical decisions because they are considered to be the technical expert. A team lead is someone who is part of the team but also has some managerial aspects to their role. For both roles the required skillsets are different. A team lead needs to have leadership qualities but a technical lead just needs to be an expert in the technical aspects of the project.
    – Cronax
    May 2, 2017 at 14:12
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    I would agree that a team lead has a higher bar on leadership skills than a technical lead, but the technical lead still needs to handle the people relationships. If a tech lead rules by decree, their reign will be short lived.
    – cdkMoose
    May 2, 2017 at 14:20
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    @mathematics, Just because your manager says you are the right person, that doesn't mean it will be successful. You can't force the team members to respect you just because you have a title. If anything, if they feel it is being forced upon them, things may get worse instead of better. I didn't change the dimensions of your question, I providing some insight around the possible outcome if you proceed in that dimension.
    – cdkMoose
    May 3, 2017 at 12:52
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    @Mathematics, please don't take this the wrong way, but the fact that you are using the word "comply" is evidence of the problem. This is not an assembly line job with rigid rules and protocols that require compliance. Team members need to vested in the team's success, they want to feel like they have a voice in the process. As you note, people in these types of roles will often choose the quitting route as a solution to their problem if they are unsatisfied with the team environment.
    – cdkMoose
    May 3, 2017 at 13:10

I think your problem, really, is that there is no one acting as a technical authority. There needs to be someone who is responsible for the final decision when the team is divided on which way to go.

It's difficult to develop software, especially in a business setting, purely by consensus. Everyone developer will have a certain amount of bias: maybe they want to use a technology they've never used before, maybe they want to take as many shortcuts as possible because they're feeling lazy, or maybe they want to re-write an entire library because "that's not the way I would have done it".

You need someone to control these tendencies.

I can see why your manager is hesitant to comply with your request. When you say to her, effectively, "the team isn't listening to me, you should promote me so that they have to listen to me" then obviously you've got a vested interest.

If you genuinely want the team to function more effectively, rather than just to get your own way because you're feeling stubborn, you should suggest to your manager that a role is created which has the ultimate responsibility for any technical decisions that are made. You should note the benefits this will have for the team. Tell her that you would be more than happy to apply for this role but ultimately that you will be happy as long as someone is responsible for giving the team direction that it needs.

You make it sound as if you think you're the most qualified for the position simply because you're older than everyone else. In my experience, senior developers tend to think this is true significantly more often than it actually is. Clearly, I don't have enough information to say whether this is true in your case but it's something to consider.

  • Thank you Michael for your answer, I edited my question and made my scenario a bit more clear May 2, 2017 at 9:57

It is difficult to tell from your description how the interactions actually work - examples would help (for instance - what do you mean by them making prejudiced comments?).

You did not mention how are your older team mates interacting with you? Are they part of this behaviour? Do they listen to the newcomers over you?

When making suggestions to your colleagues, it is best to ensure that you have solid reasoning behind the suggestions - whether technical or through your knowledge of the business.

Make sure these are suggestions, not demands - there is a big difference between "You should do X like this" and "I think that X can be done differently - for these reasons". The former is a demand to change, the second does a few things - it is both a softer suggestion (saying "I think" brings in that this is your opinion and opens up that it is possible you are wrong) and gives good reasons for wanting to make a change.

If they do have relevant comments about the suggestion, make it a discussion, talk about the trade-offs between the approaches. If the comments are not relevant, ask why they are relevant.

Lastly - consider that it is possible that after 7 years working at the same workplace, perhaps the new people have different perspectives to yours - and that some of the things they are saying are valuable.

  • Hi Digi, I updated my question, I appreciate your answer(questions) but since my manager already agrees with me about situation I am not going to get into details... :) May 2, 2017 at 9:19
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    Well, you say here that your manager agrees, but what you said in your question is that they are saying it is possible, which to me sounds like they are also saying it might not be the case...
    – DigiFriend
    May 2, 2017 at 9:23
  • Yes, because it is a grey area, we can't definitely for sure say what someone else thinks in there heart :) , to remove the confusion I removed the word "might" May 2, 2017 at 9:25

Ok I made the comment:

I can't help to read this as: "My colleagues don't want to work the way I do and now I've convinced my boss to make me lead so I can force them to do it my way. (but she is hesitant)".

The way I read it, you have uncooperative colleagues. And I feel you want lead so you can "make" your colleagues cooperate. Your boss' hesitation is right because this move will bring a lot of resentment from your colleagues who will think you "kissed up" to the boss.

You used to be peers and you didn't get your way and instead of convincing them you used your boss to get your way.

If a colleague of mine would make a move like this and become my lead I would quit.

So in your case I would suggest option number 4: Bring in someone from the outside to help you work as a team.

  • There seem to be a lot of big leaps for assumptions here.
    – JMac
    May 2, 2017 at 16:14
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    @JMac and there are a lot of edits to the question. Check the edit history.
    – Pieter B
    May 3, 2017 at 6:37

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