Dilemma - After taking over a new account, I’m at odds with a team-mate. What should I do?

In the past month at work, I’ve been having increasing problems with another account manager on my team, who is becoming extremely difficult to get on with. I believe it’s because I was given an account he wanted and felt he should have been given it instead of me. It’s making our work environment a tense and unpleasant place to be. What should I do to resolve our differences?

Karen Light and Jo Atkins, senior account managers, PHD Compass Manchester

Everyone in this industry has tendencies to become very insecure about account responsibilities and very precious about the clients they work on.

Most of us will admit to being a little envious of a work colleague who gets awarded a cool account, but outright resentment is simply not on.

Take a look at your own behaviour first. A bit of humility never goes amiss. You could, inadvertently, be giving off the wrong signals to your colleague that could have been misinterpreted as gloating.

Perhaps suggest an informal chat over lunch with said colleague. Discuss how difficult you feel about the account win, that you both deserve to be working on it but, in reality, that isn't possible.

Listen to how they feel, be understanding and prepared to offer constructive advice.

Encourage them to share their aspirations with their superior to ensure the next opportunity comes their way. This might make them feel a little more humble about their behaviour.

Paul Dale, managing director, The Media Division

You have to confront your colleague on this issue and get everything out and in the open as soon as possible.

Understand why he's got the problem and both try to understand together why you got the account and he didn't.

Maybe suggest a meeting to share ideas. This will be an opportunity for the two of you to sit down together, discuss your individual accounts – what you find works well and what doesn't – and to pool ideas and investigate how you can put your findings from each other to good use to add further value to your clients and make more money.

Life's too short in our business to have to deal with grudges or unpleasantness, because any tensions are likely to manifest themselves in other ways – mistakes, forgetfulness, etc – whether caused by you or someone else.

You don't want that to reflect badly in your client servicing or with other internal relationships.

Life in advertising is such a rollercoaster ride, there are bound to be some downs with the ups.

Once you've spoken with him, if the situation is not cleared up between the two of you, go to your line manager/senior director/HR/MD, or whoever you think will objectively help with the case.

Gill Eatwell, associate director, Spiritmedia Scotland

First, talk to him, without making it a big deal, because it probably isn't. The real size of the problem will then be revealed.

He may a) listen to you and take note; b) listen to you and take offence; or c) not listen to you at all.

This is a crucial first step. If it's b) or c), you may have no option but to "take it up with the management" and they will expect you to have made some attempt to discuss sensibly and resolve before you take up their time.

There is nothing worse and more unconstructive than personnel clashes, so be very wary.

Going higher could escalate the problem and backfire, so you must make sure that you are being reasonable.

Does he have a point? Have you looked at it from every angle? Should you give the guy a break?

You did get the coveted account after all. Basically, be nice to him first, make sure he is an arse before you treat him like one and, if he really is an arse, get someone else to sort it out and "adjudicate". Ultimately, life's too short.

Dharmesh Chheda, sales & marketing manager, Alvern Media

The difference that you perceive is not necessarily your doing. You could also be assuming that the problem stems from this account being given to you; there could be other reasons for his difficult demeanour.

You should invite your colleague out for a drink and, before discussing this particular issue, try and break the ice with some general chit-chat.

In discussing the issue at hand, point out that rather than competing, you look forward to working with him in the team and that there could be opportunities to share ideas and thoughts.

You should try not to let this issue distract you at work and, if a face-to-face remedy does not help the situation, you may want to refer the issue to your manager who can help you work towards resolving the problem.

This week's dilemma was compiled by Alice de Picarda

Dilemmas to come

I am keen to get into media planning and I've been offered a one-week work experience placement at one of the top-10 media agencies in February. I'm not sure how beneficial work experience would be. I've heard of people landing jobs through it, but is that just a rarity or is it all based on the attitude and work?

I’ve recently been promoted to sales team leader, which I am really pleased about, but some of my team members seem to be giving me the cold shoulder since starting my new role. I don't know whether it's because I'm still adjusting and, therefore, not as efficient, or if they're jealous. Either way, it's affecting my confidence and I don't want my work to suffer as a result. What should I do?

Send your advice to amanda.lennon@haynet.com.

And if you have a dilemma, we'll try to help solve it. Simply e-mail us and we'll keep your name confidential.

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