DIfficult colleague and wish to off board the project

New answer on May 30, 2023
7 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 28, 2023

Hi Everyone,

I am recently staffed on a project for about 1 week now and facing a difficult colleague.

Is it possible if I to raise this issue with the partner and request to switch to another project? I worry this request might backfire and damage me even more so. 

Would appreciate it if you could share your 1st hand experience of this similar case and how you overcome it.

Thank you in advance

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Content Creator
replied on May 30, 2023
#1 McKinsey Coach by rating & recommendation rate

Hi there, 

Sorry to hear. This happens often and it's better for you over the long term if you deal with it rather than run from it. 

I'd recommend you speak with your manager. Try to explain the situation, how it's affecting you and the project. Don't complain, but instead try to explain the situation as is and potentially come up with some solutions. Don't go to the Partner first by bypassing the manager (otherwise you're going to be struggling with 2 people in the team from now on). 

Have a look also at the following two guides about how to make the most out of your first year in consulting. You might find a few ideas that could inspire you to action:



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Content Creator
replied on May 29, 2023
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Q: I was recently staffed on a project for about 1 week now and facing a difficult colleague. Is it possible to raise this issue with the partner and request to switch to another project?

From your question it is not very clear:

  1. What do you mean by “difficult colleague” – is it someone not doing his/her job? Is the person not responding? Is the person uncooperative?
  2. Who is the colleague: is the person a peer/above you/below you?

In general I agree with Ian that it would make sense to find a way to make the collaboration work given it’s just 1 week, but for an exact answer on possible next steps I believe we would need more details.


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replied on May 29, 2023
Lowest price for Top-Ranked Coach on PrepLounge| McKinsey San Francisco | Harvard graduate | 6+ years of coaching


Could you provide some more details on why you find this colleague difficult?

If it's something like differences in working styles or you find them personally unpleasant or disrespectful), I would highly recommend trying to stick it out longer and establish a rapport with them before escalating to management. In this case, it might indeed backfire if you try to switch projects after 1 week.

However, if it's a more serious issue (e.g., HR violation), then it might need to be escalated sooner.

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Content Creator
updated an answer on May 28, 2023
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Please please please do not do this after 1 week.

You are going to face difficult colleagues. A lot. That is life.

You need to find a way to work with this individual. You need to find a way to make sure that your work does not get affected. Always make sure your hard work is visible to others, that it is clear what is your responsibility verus his/hers and get everything down in writing always.

You are earning a salary because you have to find ways to work with difficult people.

Every single coach here will have experienced this (honestly, I had difficult people on almost every project). Such is the joy of the professional world!

But every scenario is different. “Overcoming” a lazy colleague versus a neurotic colleague versus an annoying colleague versus and aggressive colleague etc. (the list goes on) is different. Hard to tell you how to work with this person without more information though.

Edit: If there is physical / verbal abuse at play you absolutely should report this. If they're just a difficult person, 1 week into your 1st project you'd have to be very careful in how you raise this.


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replied on May 29, 2023
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger |Former Head Recruiter | Market Sizing

It really depends on what the situation is. Being “difficult”… happens the whole time. You'll get difficult colleagues, managers, partners and clients. If you ask to move to a different project after just a single week of work, you will be perceived (possibly correctly) as you being the one who is difficult to work with.

The advantage of consulting is that you keep moving from project to project so if in one project you have a difficult peer, it will only last a few months, and then you move on.

Being disrespectful or unprofessional is a different thing. You should aks the person to be professional, and flag the situation if the behavior doesn't change.

Regarding similar situations… it's difficult to give you my experience in a similar situation, as you didn't give any details on your own case. Without details it's impossible to understand what the real issue is.

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replied on May 29, 2023
McKinsey EM | Top MBB Coach | >70% Success Rate | Free Introductory Calls

After one week I would not raise this. Try and establish a relationship with that colleague. Usually, what helps is to have some interaction outside the team room. Ask to grab some dinner, do sports, etc. 

Fingers crossed.

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Anonymous replied on May 28, 2023

Dear candidate, 


Sure it is possible. 


A) You can raise this with the partner and discuss different options such as leaving, working separately or working without problems for you. You can outline the advantages and what you prefer and listen to the partners suggestions.

B) You can also bring this up externally to the project with people who are helpful in case you have mentors that are.

C) you can bring it up with the individual but here be careful it sounds like you may not want this and sometimes when people behave this way it is a good idea to find another path. However if you think it is of value then tell the other person WHAT not to do, be a leader and stand up for yourself. I am making hypotheses here but the other person sounds like a bully and  therefore why not consider a) or b) make it constructive and helpful and come up too with your own suggestions.


Best regards.



Best regards,



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Cristian gave the best answer


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