A. Hard to say. But it’s smart to recognize the relationships that colleagues have outside of work. Take steps to salvage your dealings with this employee. Hold frank discussions in which you seek to overcome differences and increase trust and understanding. Don’t mention this person’s closeness with higher-ups; limit your focus to actions you can both take to forge a more harmonious working relationship. Apologize when necessary and prepare to admit honest errors. Eventually, find a way to use that channel to your advantage by planting messages you want those executives to hear.