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I am working as IT consultant to US based organization. I have a team member. He is senior in the organization and team also. His role is developer and he is responsible for development of specific interface of our web application. I have joined as team member in the web development team and with in 3 months I have promoted as development team Lead. My responsibility is lead entire development team.

Before I became team lead we both good and friendly relationship. After I became lead he used to report to me. There are some situations those leads to arguments between us and most of the time I won. One of the scenario is explained below

There are certain design and architectural practices he follows blindly. Lately for some scenarios, I feel those are not productive. When I consulted and discussed with him and asked why particular thing was implemented in that way, he told that is the practice they used to follow many scenarios before I join, and explained me the advantages of that practice. But I explained why it is not productive and why we need to change and what needs to change. But he keep on insisting it was used many times earlier. Then I went to technical architect, whose responsibility is working on design and architecture for the web application which we are working and discussed about the current approach and then I was correct. Technical architect supported my approach. And he makes the required change in his code.

These kind of incidents was happened 2 or 3 times. I lately feel that this cause some rift in friendly spirit and left not so positive feelings in him. We used to travel same bus and same route. But earlier many occasions we used to talk casually. But recently that amount of talking is reduced and our casual talks also limited to more formal greetings and takings.

How can I restore healthy and friendly atmosphere with him?

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    Time heals all wounds. – aroth May 23 '14 at 2:21
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    Let me know if I have this right BVR. You and a coworker under you in your team had a disagreement on technical approach that he was responsible for. Rather than resolving it with him, you went to a third party to get a ruling. The technical lead said you were right, and you made your team member change his approach as a result. Is this correct? Because it sounds like the issue isn't that you were right, but rather that your way of handling the issue did not seem appropriate to him. If that is the issue, it isn't clear how you can solve it since the question doesn't explain the actual problem. – jmac May 23 '14 at 2:29
  • @jmac, I have added details to my question. I am technical lead here. The disagreement is specific to architecture. For our team there is technical architect whose job is provide design and architecture for our project. He is not third party. He is part of our team and he is responsible for design. Any design and architecture related questions or conflicts or issues he has to solve it. And he has done his job in the above scenario – Babu May 23 '14 at 3:05
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    Mentioning that you "won" the argument is a red flag for me, indicating that you approach the discussion with a problematic mindset! Technical arguments should never be about winning, they should be about getting wiser (for all parties involved), and about finding the best possible solution together. – Bjarke Freund-Hansen May 23 '14 at 9:41
  • @JimG. - Sure, why not? It's not like diplomacy has proven particularly effective in that matter. – aroth May 23 '14 at 23:51
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Although not exactly related, this answer about a expert power base will help you understand the damage you may have done.

To take a quote from that:

"A technical power base is destroyed if the person displays a lack of technical knowledge in that field to their peers."

So the issue is that you have undermined him in front of a senior. Not good.

Second, you use a lot of "I won". Relationships isn't about who wins. It is about being able to work together for a common goal. Sometimes you have to lose to win.


To that end, rather then being adversarial in your discussions, it would be better to pose questions/actions to him to work towards what you believe is the correct answer.

Instead of saying "X is wrong" to him, you could have asked him to investigate the current system vs new systems and weight their pros/cons. This allows him to build his technical knowledge in that area and improve his power base.

I would recommend in future using the GROW model as a basis to grow their skills, if you believe that is the issue.

For more reading power bases I recommend "Understanding Organizations" by Charles Handy (ISBN: 0140156038).

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    +1 for "the issue is that you have undermined him in front of a senior". And I would have +1 for "you use a lot of 'I won'" all by itself. – Stephan Kolassa May 23 '14 at 9:44
  • The "you use a lot of 'I won'" seemed like the most important thing to me, if you spend your time trying to win arguments, you won't be able to live a healthy relationship. Try focusing on solving problems together instead. – everyone Nov 9 '17 at 10:20
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As long as you don't take it personally that you won i.e. it's not a victory over him, you are leaving the door open for him to unfreeze his attitude toward you.

It's going to take him a while for him to adjust to the fact that you are his team lead, that you are his team lead because you knew a few things more than he does and that he is your subordinate and that as your subordinate, he is going to have to comply with what you say. Give him that time and just make sure that you are approachable in the meantime.

Bottom line is that all you can do is leave the door open and it's up to him to grow out of whatever rancor he is feeling.

  • As long as you don't take it personally that you won... I'm confused! – Jim G. May 23 '14 at 23:17
  • @JimG There are people who get personally wrapped up in a professional dispute, and get an ego trip out of winning it, at the expense of those who lost, of course. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 24 '14 at 0:03

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