When I started my current position I had a direct report who underperformed massively.
To be completely fair, it probably wasn't 100% his fault: I assume the role promised to him before I started was to be less technical than it really was. He wasn't interested in doing what was expected from him and blamed me for insisting on him taking on these tasks.
Solving the problem included involving HR, who escalated the issue and saw it as a conflict of personalities instead of what it really was: a person not interested in doing a specific type of work. He had every right not to, but it meant we needed to find a person who had skills and felt like doing it. All in all, it cost both of us, the former report and me, a lot of stress and although I didn't do anything wrong, I'm sure the former colleague would do a lot in order not to work with me again.
He then moved to another big employer in the city.
Fast forward several months, HR's behavior turned out to be representative of the company culture and I have reasons to start job-searching again. There's a position in my former report's company that I find appealing.
I would apply but I'm not sure I should given it's possible that I would end up being my former employee's boss again. How should I play that?