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Dear Dan: I Don’t want to Give my Clients to a Less Competent Colleague

Dear Dan,

Your blog is immensely helpful. Here is a topic that I have not seen yet.

I am successful in winning work, especially repeat work from the same customers. I am a project manager in engineering/construction. When I win work, I then manage the projects.

Company management is directing me to give some of my projects to one of my peers who is not successful. It sounds selfish, but I don’t want to give the projects up. What are your thoughts?


Sounding Selfish

Dear Sounding Selfish,

Congratulations on your success. An engineer who can sell is a remarkable asset to any organization.

Reflection questions:

Perhaps the best I can offer is some questions that help you reflect on your present and future.

#1. What do you most enjoy about your work?

Is it winning new work or managing the work you win? If you love winning new work, management’s desire seems like a win for you.

Perhaps you enjoy long-term relationships with returning clients. If that’s the case, handing off a client might drain fulfillment from work.

After reflecting on the aspects of your job that bring you the most fulfillment, have a conversation with management. How might you create a job that fuels your energy and takes the company where it wants to go?

#2. What are your career goals?

If you aspire to move up, finding a way to meet management’s goals is essential.  

Are you in line for promotion? If you are promoted will you end up less satisfied with work?

#3. What goal is company management pursuing?

Are they expanding capacity? Perhaps they want to “train” other engineers to win more work. If they want to expand the team’s ability to sell, handing off work doesn’t accomplish their goal.

How might handing off work be seen as an advantage for you and the company?

#4. How are you compensated?

If compensation is connected to the number of projects you manage, have a discussion with your boss about compensation.

For your consideration:

My first thought is an engineer who can sell is rare. I wonder how you feel about leaning into sales a little more – as long as it’s recognized and compensated?   

I imagine that your company is trying to expand business and you might have a great opportunity to be a real asset. 

My concern is you might move away from the aspects of your job that bring you fulfillment. Low fulfillment is always followed by low energy.

You have my best,


What suggestions might you offer Sounding Selfish?

NOTE: I relax my 300 word limit on “Dear Dan” posts.

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