Some background - I'm relatively new (been there a month) to a fairly large software company. This coworker has been at this company for 3 years, but is also relatively new to this team. Because this coworker is several years older and has been at the company longer he is one software dev grade above me. He is a pretty good programmer in many areas, but there are several areas where his knowledge is clearly lacking.

The problem comes from that he is extremely stubborn, to the point where I have never seen him concede a point to anyone, even when he is obviously wrong. When dealing with the software devs around his level, he'll argue to the point where dev decisions come down to coin tosses. When it comes to software devs one level below like me, he is outright dismissive and condescending. He has denied he's said things to win arguments, and made facile arguments. A very common one is about not increasing complexity, often when a change is required. For example he designed a table without adding any columns for relations, which resulted in me not being able to complete a task. I talked to him about it and he argued black and blue against the change. When I inevitably went to my boss explaining why I could not complete a task, my manager asked my coworker why the table was missing the relation and my coworker promptly said he'd fix it.

As you can probably tell he's really gotten under my skin. But on top of that he's made my job more difficult and even after he's proven wrong (like the example with my boss) continues to be stubborn.

My question is how to deal with someone like this at work? Such as what can be done if anything to get him to listen to others? Or instead should I just put my head down and record the ways the stubbornness is making my job more difficult?

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    It sounds like he may be his own worst enemy, if his manager is asking him the same questions. I think just give him enough rope and the problem might just go away on its own. – Jane S Aug 3 '17 at 3:43
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    Also, put things in emails. "Just to clarify the outcome of our discussion, you don't want to do X because of Y and Z. Am I understanding that correctly?" and things like that. This will be invaluable as and when their decisions cause problems further down the line. – Kaz Aug 3 '17 at 10:14

As Jane says in her comment, he's clearly doing himself no favours and doesn't appear to be doing much to contribute to the team's effectiveness.

I'd be tempted to privately talk with one or two other team-members and see what the background story of this guy is, and how they cope with his attitude/behaviour.

It strikes me that there's signs of a lack of clear leadership from the Dev Lead here if some decisions end up being based on a coin-toss.

If there's no clear backstory from what you learn from your team-mates, you might have to suck it up and do the best that you can and keep flagging any blockages to your own work-streams.

But take your lead from your team-mates - they've obviously been living with this situation for the past couple of years.

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The easiest way of dealing with someone like this is to make friends with everyone else. I just dealt with someone like this.

Don't fight with this person, do your job, make allies with everyone he is making enemies with and step back. This person is in self-destruct mode.

"Never interrupt an enemy when he's making a mistake."


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