I'm looking for advice on mentoring others (or perhaps communication in general).

I'm a newly promoted Senior engineer in my company and I'm managing a new hire for my company. It's been 2 months, and it's hasn't been a fun ride.

I've found my relationship with the engineer to be fairly antagonistic. I'm not even sure how to describe this, so here are some notes:

  • He's confrontational - Whenever I give him opposing feedback in his pull requests, he will very often come over and say "hey, do you want to talk about this?"
  • He's very resolved - During discussions, he has shown himself to be principled. However, I've often disagreed with his decisions and it's very difficult to convince him that he's wrong. It's stressing me out since this happens on a daily basis.
  • He is a bad communicator - English is his second language, and the conversations I have with him have been difficult... He is stoic with his rationalizations, and it is very challenging to change his mind.
  • He is ambitious - I've felt that he's always trying to one-up me. Whenever I speak, he would always try to follow with something.
  • His way is better - When we get into a disagreement and come to an impasse, his resolution has always been "let's just merge it and see how it goes". I've let this happen a few times.

I understand communication is a two way street. All of the above points can easily be a showcase of how bad of a communicator I've been. Here's what I've tried to do so far:

  • Enlist a third-party arbitrator - There was a heated discussion that was going nowhere. I decided to pull in another senior engineer in the company to help give a third opinion.
  • Appeal to convention - It seems he doesn't value my feedback a lot, so I've been feeding him some blog post links during disagreements.

I'm really stressed out. It's common for our discussions to degrade to arguments, where both sides feel their side is the right side.

What are some techniques I can employ to better the situation?

  • 3
    Hi there! Welcome to IPS. I think that this question may be too broad, as "what are some techniques I could use to use XYZ" could attract opinion-based answers. Would "how to express my opinions to my mentoree without ending up in a heated situation" would address your issues? If not, maybe you could try to find answers on the Workplace.SE, I believe they might be of greater help for answering your question as it is phrased right now. Let me know, and have a great time among us! – avazula Jun 25 '19 at 5:52
  • When you pulled in another engineer to get another opinion, what was the result? Did the 3 of you come to some sort of agreement, or did this other engineer insist on his approach no matter what? – DaveG Jun 25 '19 at 13:28
  • I think this question would be a better fit on The Worklplace stack exchange. Not only would you get some answers on interpersonnel issues, but you might get broader advice on how to effectively work with a more junior employee (I know there are some pieces of advice I'd like to give you that wouldn't fit in the stack exchange's scope). – MlleMei Jun 25 '19 at 14:07