I am working in a company, and I am having this type of problem: whenever we start a new project a colleague of mine always wants to be the leader of the project.

He is now leading a very important project, and usually this will be enough, but lately he made me understand that in the next period he would like to take the lead in the project I am now leading, which is one of the most important of the company (maybe his behaviour is caused by his ego).

The other people in the company do not care and neither does the director by this change.

I have tried talking to him and explaining why it is not a good behaviour for the company (the other workers do not care about responsibility roles in the company, so having only one person being leader of 2 important projects will only enhance the feeling that there will always be someone who takes the responsibility for the things:

  • If he has personal problems then all the projects will suffer;

  • With more people leading projects in the company there is more dialogue and we can find better ways of solving problems)

I also have good relationships with my colleagues (except for this one), so how can I address my other colleagues that the company does not need a man that does all the work (so everyone can do their job properly) and resolve this situation (stopping him for taking over my project) without attacking him personally?

In my previous job, a situation like this happened, and when the leader of all the projects got sick, all the projects were stopped except for the one I was leading, and this lead to a crisis for the company).

The project is composed of two parts: now I am leading the first part. After the first part is completed then we (we inside the company) will decide who will be the leader of the second part. (I have also tried to say that it is better if the project is directed as a whole by one person, but I was ignored, so the decision of the director of the second part will happen in the next month).

  • 1
    Hi and welcome! I noticed you have a few different questions here, both dealing with the person causing this and your other colleagues. In order to make this not too broad, I suggest focusing on just one at a time. It'd also be helpful if you could clarify what outcome you'd like when you say "deal with" the situation (stop him from taking over your project? escalate to management? Keep in mind also we're focused only on interpersonal skills, if you're interested in workplace-specific advice you may want to search The Workplace since they may have similar questions already).
    – Em C
    Jun 28, 2019 at 21:11
  • Hi, thank you for your suggestions! I have tried to explain in a better way. If my post is OT, say that to me, and please direct me to a better site. Jun 28, 2019 at 21:37
  • 2
    Who eventually appoints the leader "officially"? On what grounds is a leader appointed? What specifically caused you to have been appointed the leader for the first part / phase of the project you're leading? What would lead to him, instead of you, being chosen as the leader of the second part / phase? The dynamics here aren't clear. It sounds as though the leader could possibly be appointed as would a political "leader", on the grounds of popularity and whatnot, instead of solely skills and experience and competence. What sort of projects are involved, e.g. engineering?
    – Tim
    Jul 8, 2019 at 11:39
  • Does this coworker offer any reasoning for why they should be in charge of each project, or do they simply say that they want to be in charge?
    – Upper_Case
    Aug 19, 2019 at 18:13
  • @Upper_Case He simply says that he want to be in charge, and he usually jokes about it saying, smiling that his thirst of power is unstoppable. Aug 19, 2019 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


when the leader of all the projects got sick, all the projects were stopped except for the one I was leading

You hinted at the risks of a single leadership structure instead of a distributed leadership. Expanding and emphasising the risks to the company would be a useful way to keep the leadership roles distributed. The director and decision-makers may not appreciate the risk but describing your previous experience may be helpful in bringing forward your concerns. At least then even if your colleague takes over, there may be better contingency plans if he is sick or unable to make decisions.

Developing a closer relationship or at least eliciting why your colleague is keen for more leadership responsibility would be useful. For most people, it could be "ego" as you also mentioned. However, there other ways of climbing up the ladder which he may not be aware of. There also may be ways to "stroke his ego" without him having to take over your role. Maybe educating him about the technical aspects that he may not have appreciated would also be useful.

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