Obviously, he was not progressing much in his career. Soon, I noticed that he avoided talking with me directly and was not paying attention when I conducted team meetings. I also learned that he was trying to communicate the project matters to my manager, bypassing my authority.
Knowing it was my responsibility to resolve the matter, I took the initiative to have a dialog with him away from the formalities of the office. So I invited him for lunch and simply tried to establish a personal connection between us. He gradually opened up to talk about his family and his hobbies, which were real estate and stock investment, two subjects that I was also interested in. That set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Once I felt he had settled down and relaxed, I asked him why he was avoiding me and not reporting to me. To my surprise, he was straightforward and told me that he felt uncomfortable to work under me as I was much younger than him and that other colleagues told him that he was passed up for promotion. Knowing his military background, I said that the purpose of a business reporting structure was to improve efficiency and to ensure group direction rather than enforce a hierarchy of status. I told him, "Patrick, we came from different backgrounds and I do not necessarily know more than you do. The management wanted us to work together on this project as our skill sets are complementary. ...Show more