My colleague is very difficult to deal with. I was recently provided the task of managing my colleagues and it is very difficult to gain their attention and ask to fulfil a task as they do not like being assigned tasks from my end. Often they find it easy to assign the blame and neglect the task being assigned by me. My post is not official but the task of managing is real and is being carried out and there is literally no concern from anyone except this one guy who is supposed to be my friend.

  • 1
    This seems to be more of a people management problem than a project management problem. Maybe it's better suited for Workplace.SE.
    – nvoigt
    Oct 7 at 8:32
  • 1
    @nvoigt No, I think this could be on-topic for pmse, but it's lacking enough details and a clearly defined goal. I'm VTC as needs clarity, not as off-topic.
    – Sarov
    Oct 7 at 13:11
  • There may be a good PM.SE question under the hood here, but as it stands, there's lack of minimal context so that it can be more useful. More details, better questions, richer answers.
    – Tiago Cardoso
    Oct 19 at 22:00

Frame challenge: You're difficult to deal with, not your colleague. (I'm assuming. Don't have enough details to see the whole picture, so this answer is a stab in the dark.)

If I were in your colleague's shoes, with you coming in to manage me (without my input, and apparently even without an official position granting that authority), and then you decide to start imposing management techniques top-down onto me, without any of my input... I'd be pretty annoyed.

Top-down assignment specifically is one of my biggest peeves. The moment I read:

they do not like being assigned tasks from my end

I though "Yeah... neither would I." What problem are you actually trying to solve, by assigning tasks to them rather than telling the team as a whole what needs to be done and letting them self-assign?

My advice?

  1. Throw away everything you assume you know about what managing a team means.
  2. Talk to the team to learn from them the biggest pain points.
  3. Talk to the team to tell them what the overall goals are.
  4. Talk to the team to collaboratively estimate the biggest roadblocks to reaching those goals.
  5. Talk to the team to collaboratively come up with possible solutions.
  6. Go from there.
  • To give you a brief on the colleague mentioned. He is a developer and possesses an attitude of superiority. Providing timelines and not completing the task within that time frame is a regular character. Besides the points already mentioned by you to ask the team and move ahead which has been tried and tested. Should I accept that not everyone can be managed and some are just the way described. My problem is this one guy for whom ive been a friend and he takes this liberty for granted when it comes to work. Oct 8 at 6:27
  • @MahanGupta Well, if you're sticking to the stance of "I'm not doing anything wrong with the project management, the problem is entirely this guy", then I take back my earlier comment - this question is off-topic for pmse.
    – Sarov
    Oct 8 at 13:07

I can very well relate to this. If you are delivering for a role without being assigned "official" authority and designation, this is going to be an issue especially if you are younger in age and experience.

So, how I had dealt with it? (It is completely situational-based. There will always be ifs and buts. I am sharing my experience so it can help you to get an idea of solving the problem on hand. Forget anyone being your friend in the corporate world.)

Mostly such a person needs to be tamed for their ego and make sure that they are the most important in their team. I took the help of my manager and asked him for a favor. All my manager had to do was tell him some good words, make him feel as if the project revolves around him. The last blow was asking him to cooperate since each team member is doing their job. Once he gets involved, everything mentioned above will become redundant :)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.