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Dealing with over-competitive colleagues

 
#1 Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
26/08/2009 10:06

Anon

What are good ways of dealing with a peer who starts acting like your boss, positioning himself between you and your boss or the client, and publicly critiques your work (despite his own non-contribution) whilst at the same time taking credit for other parts of your work?

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#2 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
26/08/2009 13:16

meerkat to Anon (#1)

Same way you deal with embittered has-beens spouting invective. Simply ignore them. Truth will out

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#3 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
27/08/2009 12:07

Anonimator to meerkat (#2)

Have you tried bedding them ? I did that before, Worked !

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#4 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
27/08/2009 12:26

Mars A Day to Anon (#1)

If, as you say, this peer is not making an actual contribution, then the best way would be to take him/her aside privately and warn then (nicely but firmly) that if they persist you will raise - in public - their lack of contribution to the work altogether, and debunk their credit for work they have not done.

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#5 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
27/08/2009 16:42

chogey to Mars A Day (#4)

....& probably best done sooner rather than later.

The client will certainly have spotted something's up between you two.

The last thing you want to have happen is for your management to hear about this from them rather than you.

Would recommend one warning only to your peer - if they persist it's worth warning your manager first before blowing his cover in public.

If it's affecting more than one of you at least you'll have other team members to back you up.

What your management should then do is find out what's driving your peer to behave in such a narcissistic way - unfortunately not likely to happen.

If all else fails, Anon's "hack in the fork" is worth smiling about.

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#6 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
27/08/2009 20:39

Johny to Anon (#1)

The person in question sounds like a talented guy...align yourself to him..he is obviously getting one over on you or else you would not have made this post. If they are doing this both internally and with the client the smartest thing is not to make an enemy of him and work with him.

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#7 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 08:59

Anon to Johny (#6)

Yeah, he is getting one over on me and it's very annoying. Acting like he's my boss - who does he think he is! However there must be a way to bring this guy back down to chinatown. Any ideas?

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#8 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 09:26

Dreamy to Anon (#7)

Agree it must be frustrating, so why not change the same - you may be (willing or subconciously) holding back from giving of your best, knowing that he'll take the praise.

Mention this to him, and how you'd be better to work together - you prepare the stuff, he delivers it and makes sure you the appropriate credit. That way it's a win-win. If he was able to prepare the material himself he wouldn't need to pinch your brainpower, and perhaps his self promotion skills are better than yours.

As the saying goes, better to have him inside the tent pi**ing out, than out of the tent pi**ing in.

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#9 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 09:36

Anon to Dreamy (#8)

I notice that today he has set aside 5 hours in his calendar (which everyone can see) to "Prepare report". I have already written the damn report and he has a copy. It is in a final version - if anything, all he needs to do is quickly scan through it to check there are no other minor points he wants to add. A 30 min task at most. He put this entry in his diary yesterday, AFTER I had forwarded him a draft. He obviously wants people to think that he wrote it, and not I. How do you deal with that?

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#10 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 10:12

Mars A Day to Anon (#9)

cc the report into a manager, other peer or someone with line of sight to the project on the premise to 'get their view'. You need to start making your efforts as visible as possible - you're letting this joker run rings round you from the sounds of it.

Take him aside, and give him a private warning. Just one.

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#11 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 11:15

Anon to Mars A Day (#10)

Hi Mars, that's good advice but the thing is... I'm not very good at confrontations. He on the other hand is a master of manipulation and fast responses. I recognise that, in a situation where I have to think on my feet, he would run rings around me. I need somthing a bit more 'behind the scenes' or off-line if you see where I'm coming from. It's just a difference in personal style - I'm not as finely-tuned in the art of bull$shitting, manipulation, deception and telling "sometimes the truth, but not the whole truth, and usually not nothing but tthe truth".

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#12 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 11:58

Mars A Day to Anon (#11)

It's rather like the art of giving a really good boll*cking, or making an effective threat: work out what you want to say in advance, stick to it, and adhere to what is realistic.

You need to confront this person in private - it needs to be done whether you want to or not, and in private so that you can both convey sufficient menace to make it work and so that this person does not go immediately on the defensive. Think of it like game's theory - if he tries to win all the time, no one will win. If no one person tries to win, everyone will win.

Rehearse what you want to say, and confront him in a calm manner where you cannot be overheard. Make it clear that you are aware of what he is doing, understand why he is doing it, and that you have the option of proving his lack of contribution - to senior management if necessary. Can of worms on table time. Don't open the can of worms yet. If he wants to share some of the credit then let him - so long as he acknowledges you also. Explain this to him so he has the option. But underline it with the stark warning that it is YOU who is creating the value, and if you then withdraw that contribution, by asking to move to another project, speaking to senior managers whatever the route it, it will soon become very transparent not only that he is taking credit for your work, but just how little he is actually doing. He knows there is a recession on out there right? Not a good time to be shown up to be a passenger yes? When you have made your point, emphasise that this is the only time you are addressing this with him.

Stay calm, don't lose your temper; say your piece and leave.

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#13 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 12:01

Mars A Day to Mars A Day (#12)

I mean leave the meeting of course, not leave the company.

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#14 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
28/08/2009 21:47

Anon to Mars A Day (#13)

That sounds like stonking godd advice Mars and I'll remember that if I ever face a similar situation (mercifully it hasn't happened yet).

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#15 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
29/08/2009 10:48

Anon to Anon (#14)

Hey that's not me.....

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#16 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
29/08/2009 13:15

nona to Anon (#15)

It was probably Mars congratulating himself!

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#17 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
29/08/2009 13:17

anon to Anon (#15)

make sure you send the report to whoever it is for and acknowledge his (small proofreading) contribution in the cover note.

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#18 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
01/09/2009 19:43

zimmer to anon (#17)

One day I am sure he will surpass you if he is fitter and faster...best of luck.

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#19 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
02/09/2009 11:53

OLU to Anon (#1)

Obviously you have not read the 48 laws of power. He definitely got one on you there, if you aint careful, he is actually going to your boss in a few years

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#20 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
02/09/2009 18:17

Anon to OLU (#19)

I suppose some consolation is that if he does end up being my boss, he won't be getting paid any extra. The place I work for doesn't seem to believe in the philosophy of giving payrises for additional work or responsibility.

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#21 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
03/09/2009 10:51

Anon to Anon (#20)

So, You work for a company that doesn't reward its staff and are effectively being shafted by one of you collegues.

You don't need advice. You need a backbone and a new job.

Right it off as experience and don't let it happen again

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#22 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
03/09/2009 19:42

blog to Anon (#21)

So how did it go? did any of the advice work?

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#23 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
03/09/2009 20:18

Holly to blog (#22)

The only people who have read 48 Laws of Power and taken it seriously are incompetent psychopaths. No normal well-rounded person needs such snake oil to succeed.

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#24 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
03/09/2009 20:59

Mr Cool to Mars A Day (#12)

As usual Mars A Day offers good advice. Private meeting and a dose of menace.

About ten years ago I got my break into sales (having been a billing consultant) selling a million pounds worth of consulting into a brand new client. It got me a promotion, a huge bonus and the Head of the Practice as my new mentor.

About seven months later, as I continued to expand this new account, a guy arrived from a larger consultancy and started to throw his weight around. Instead of selling his own deals, he hijacked other peoples. He also came out with endless plans for a “more strategic approach to sales”, i.e. all us poor sods would continue selling but he’d “co-ordinate” from above. It was obvious he was just empire building.

My immaturity was my saviour, because I just didn’t know how to be political. He called a meeting with me where he outlined his latest grand plan, and I basically lost the plot. I kept calm and didn’t swear once, but told him that I thought he was one of the most manipulative people I’d ever met, that no one believed his story about “giving up a partnership at PWC” to join our firm and that everyone hated him. If he had any problem with that he could go talk to the Head of Practice. He did. The Head of Practice said something akin to “if you think I’m taking a £1M account from the guy who brought it in from nowhere and has just done a second time this year, you can f*ck off”. Head of Practice then called me and told me that if I ever had a head to head with someone like that again I should “tell him to f*** himself, f*** himself again and then go f*** the horse he rode into town on”! H of P was world class at swearing - sooo amusing.

Guy never bothered me again, and I found a lot of people suddenly wanted to work on my projects cos they knew he’d stay away.

Rule 1. NEVER take cr*p or else be ready to eat it all your life.

Rule 2. Be prepared to have your bluff called – you’d better be the one adding value.

Rule 3. Only ever work for people who will back you up.

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#25 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
08/09/2009 14:17

anon to Mr Cool (#24)

with reports and such like- do you use a document control sheet in the report. Its a small measure but using something like that allows a log to be kept of all the work you have done at various version stages. Also like the idea of cc ing others, you can always use blind copy to!

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#26 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
12/09/2009 14:44

BigWords to Mr Cool (#24)

Agree with Mars a day and MrCool, unless you make it clear you do not stand up for it, you will be his lapdog from now on. I've also seen nice guys give up on this manipulation and accept the inofficial "subordinate" position (for good), because it is easier than making a stand.

Consulting draws nice characters... I also agree that the manipulator guy is going places:)

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#27 RE: Dealing with over-competitive colleagues
16/09/2009 13:56

another anon to anon (#25)

Don't use bcc when sending it to others, just send it a few people who would be interested and ask them for your opinion.

bcc'ing people just looks bitch, and petty. It sounds like the sort of stuff your pal does so rise above it.

Plus stand up for yourself, be prepared to take the lead when discussing the report with the people who matter.

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