My promoted coworker has become full of himself and a slacker

Dear Joan:
I work on a team of IT analysts and recently one of us got a promotion to be senior analyst in our group. He worked on a big, visible project last year and while I don't think his performance was outstanding enough to receive it, this is not what my issue is.
My issue is that ever since he was promoted he has become a little full of himself and has become even more of a slacker and schmoozer than he was before. He shows up for work between 9:30 & 10 then about 5 minutes later goes for coffee with someone, sometimes disappears throughout the day for slots of time when you know it’s not work related.
Anyway I know this is probably not an uncommon situation in the workplace and is not my responsibility to deal with it but lately it has been irking me so much because I was recently assigned to work on a project with him and I'm the one doing all the work! It's almost like he thinks that I have been assigned to him to just delegate all his work to and he's just there for updates and to give his feedback. We go to status meetings with our boss and he schmoozes with them and uses ‘we’ for all the stuff ‘I’m’ doing. (Sorry to sound a bit bitter here:)
Anyway how should I handle this? I don’t want to just snap one day and say a bunch of stuff I’ll regret. I have not yet discussed any of this with my boss because I don’t want to negatively impact my own career or look like a tattle-tail.
Please help.
I sounds like somewhere along the line your coworker got the wrong idea about his new role. I suspect your manager never really clarified it and so he has taken it upon himself to define it: the foreman on the plantation.
To be fair, there is always the possibility that the senior analyst is away from his desk because he is attending meetings or in training, so it’s probably not a good idea to assume all of his absentee time is spent schmoozing and slacking. Typically, a senior technical role involves more project work at a higher level, which also means a lot more group and one-on-one meetings. But if you have proof that he isn’t working, that is a problem.
His use of the words “we” and “I” are in reverse order. Good leaders don’t use “we” when referring to someone else’s work. They give credit to the people on the team who did the work, even if they played a significant role. Selfless praise is recognized by boss and team alike as a loyalty-building gesture that builds trust.
I understand your resentment—who wouldn’t? And I agree that running to your boss with complaints look like you’re the problem. So, here is a phased in approach to try:
  • First, assume this behavior will sort itself out.
Assume that he is going to ease into his role and settle down. If your boss is working with him on a regular basis, there is a good chance he will pick up on what he’s doing and begin to coach him.
  • Subtly advocate for yourself.
When possible, tip your boss off that you are doing the work. How? By copying him on technical work you are doing, that you know he needs for his updates with his boss and others and by comments you make in casual conversations. For example, Boss: “Hey Jerry thanks for the update you sent me but why don’t you just send that to X (the senior analyst) and he can bring it to the meeting.” You: “Well X has delegated that project to me and he isn’t involved in any of the details, so I thought if you had any questions you could come to me directly.” Another scenario: Boss: “Interesting question Jerry. Why don’t you go ask X, since he’s the senior analyst?” You: “He’s not around much and I’ve not had any luck tracking him down.”
  • Get clarification about the senior analyst role.
When you have the opportunity to talk with the senior analyst ask him what his job description is, “so I can have a better idea about what to do on my own and what things you should be involved in.” Listen carefully to what he has to say. Then when you get an opportunity to talk to your boss ask the same question. If there is a difference in opinion, say, “That’s interesting…that isn’t what X thinks. I asked him the same question and he said…… I asked him because he was delegating a lot of work to me and he wasn’t involved at all, so I was confused. Maybe it would be a good idea to clarify this with the team because I think we’re all under a different impression.”
  • Have a candid conversation with your boss.
If the above strategies don’t result in a role clarification (Who knows? You may discover he has a good reason to be acting this way.) it’s time to go to your boss. Prepare in advance so you are not emotional—no sarcasm, no gross generalizations. Be specific and professional and stay neutral. “Since X got promoted there have been some concerns I’ve had. I want to make sure I’m not overreacting, so I would like your advice. For example, he comes in a half-hour late at least three times per week. Is he on a project outside the office? Regarding projects, he has delegated the A, B and C project to me and Pat and hasn’t been involved at all. We thought we were supposed to work with him and he was going to participate actively. Did I get that wrong?”
Don’t bash him. Just present the facts. If your boss sees the senior analyst is mishandling his role, he will have a meeting to clarify it and set specific expectations.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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