There's this Asian girl in my team who tends to over-interpret people, publicly display frustration, cry often at work, and bring the pity into work.
She's been so for a year. She was stressed both personally and professionally. She started reporting to me when I inherited the team 3 months ago.
Despite being a good worker, her behaviours were counterproductive to her and the team.
Previously I tried to comfort her but didn't work. Then I addressed the issue in performance review officially to ask her keep her conduct professional.
She's unprofessionally unreceptive, became and remained emotional, and cried twice in the meeting.
What do I do?
- Ask your HRBP for help. As a manager this is the sort of thing they are there to help address.
- Are you waiting for a written invitation from the HRBP to start managing her out?
If she is truly bringing down the morale of everyone else on the team — and you should validate this hypothesis first — she needs to go, and you need your HRBP’s help to do this while minimizing personal risk.
- I honestly want her to improve and keep emtions at a professional level. It's something she needs to address for her long term growth. But to change such behavior is hard. I spent a lot of time reading, consulting and practicing managing her, but sigh, I just don't get how to work with super sensitive and emotional person.
- Undisclosed GofucjSorry to hear that... I've got a 45 year old white male who cries and gets emotional and ruins team morale and isn't a good worker...
- I think she just wants you to hear her out. Like you said, she is an “emotional” person so if you want to communicate with her, appeal to her emotional side. If she feels you’re emotionally on her side, things might improve
Easier said than done though, so if it doesn’t work, find a different alternative
Addressing it in performance review obviously will make it worse.
Try to make her feel at home and talk to her as if you’re on her side first, before resorting to “official” tactics. This will make things worse.
- Oh for crying out-
It’s her get out of jail free card. If you can’t have tough conversations about your work and your performance (I’d certainly call it a performance) then you aren’t a good fit and should probably face your sensitivities sooner rather than later.
Else you may get “aren’t a good fit” right out the door.
- I can tell the way you’re reacting that you’re very logical person and it might be hard to understand her.
Sometimes try to take a step back and see if you can look at things from her perspective. Imagine yourself in her shoes, how would you like this to be resolved?
Regardless of the big team you have, some people need more help than others. Remind yourself that it’s the girl’s hormone level and it’s hard for her too. The good thing is that she’s not an under performer, so it’s actually something you don’t have to worry about. Sometimes people need to be accepted, and maybe in this case she’s just emotional and there’s nothing you can do.
To be honest, I’m pretty logical myself but last year I went through a traumatic event in my life. Externally I was fine, but internally I was a wreck. I would try to work out twice a day to make myself feel better. Sometimes I would cry without reason and I couldn’t control it. I would immediately leave the room when tears well up to me and I couldn’t see it coming before.
Try to be kind and understanding to whatever she’s going through. You never know what people are going through most of the time. Maybe she had an abortion or miscarriage or divorce. Who knows!! But don’t address her crying in a performance review.Nov 305
- You have a good point. I agree. I knew what to do if she were my wife or sister, how to calm her, give her a hug, space, and hear her out. However, this takes a lot of effort for me. cause a lot of emtional stress, use up my energy, as the way I does this was to go through the psychological pain with them. After all, I only had so much capacity in dealing with sentiments. If my responsibility were less stressful, and less businesss urgency, I could try. But I couldn't and didn't want to.
- I don’t think it’s your place to calm her, as it’s not really your responsibility. I think people just need support in their life and be accepted for not living to what’s “normal”. Maybe she just need you to tell her that It’s 🆗 to feel like crap 💩 but you’ve got her back. If she cries in front of other people, ask her if she needs privacy and give her a private place to do her thing.
Probably when she feels safe, she would trust you more. Like I said, if it’s not affecting her work performance, let her do whatever she needs to do. Don’t try to solve her problems - even if you do feel that way. Sometimes guys want to solve whatever problems they see, but it’s not necessary that way for the girl.
- There's this white guy on my team who is this way. But there is also this black guy on my team who isn't this way. On the other hand, there is a Hispanic woman on my team who sometimes is this way.
- Next time have a little more behavioral questions in your interview loop, especially for pm. Eq is one of the most important skills here.
- Microsoft HolydShe must be dealing with depression. Sometimes there is nothing you can do when those tears come. I have depression and I usually take a couple days oof when it hits me. When I’m dealing with excruciating circumstances in life or work, depression becomes worse. I have not cried in front of my team but it has happened during 1:1 or in private conversations but people judged me harshly for that. I’m taking a lot of steps on my side to avoid any such occurrences at work, but there is still a chance that I may show my emotions at times. All I’m saying is maybe she really does not have too much control over this, but is doing whatever she can to manage things the best she can. Try to help her as much as you can and think yourself lucky that you don’t have this problem yourself. Depression is really hard and unless you go through this yourself you can never understand it.
- Was it necessary to call out that she's Asian?
Aside from that you've got a real concern. It sounds like she doesn't have great coping mechanisms for stress and criticism coupled with a much lower bar for what stresses her out.
When she became unresponsive and cried it's possible she felt shame or truth in what you said-- but doesn't know how to articulate her feelings. If you cannot articulate how you feel them how can you handle the feelings appropriately.
Have you presented this as her problem to fix or have you presented options to help her learn better ways to communicate and cope with stress and problems?
- (I'm Asian too) you made a good point, she acknowledged that she was bad in interpreting and articulation people's feelings and hers. I've provided her specific ways to be self aware of emotions and control them, like recommended readings and movies, 4 seconds rule etc. But that wasn't effective. She admitted that her personal emotions were messed up with her parents all the way till college. Man, I'm not a clinical psychologist. I had seen one earlier in my life and I felt this a take that should be addressed by professionals not manager.
- Yeah. I think you're right- as a manager your role is to help her grow and succeed professionally. Your job is to identify areas of growth. But that doesn't mean you are personally the best or responsible to address growth areas. If she were coming to you with issues like "Im interested in product management" you'd refer her to a PM. If she needed to grow her frontend skills you'd maybe find her a project with frontend components. But you wouldn't teach it yourself
Same goes here- you identified the problem. Next step- see if you can help her get the help and coaching she needs.
Is she part of AWE or any mentoring programs? It may be a good avenue for her to talk with someone who isn't directly working with her or influencing her career. Just to ease the pressure on her in that sense when talking about how she's coping
- I had a very similar situation in my team, where a colleague would start crying for what seemed like no apparent reason to me. At some point I found myself in a situation when I didn't even want to review her PRs because she would get upset, not even talking about project discussions or sprint plannings. I'm a girl too, and consider myself empathetic, but this was too much for a workspace. Eventually she just left the team.
- Google gilWhat's wrong with being emotional? At work are we supposed to pretend we aren't human? Let her cry. Maybe you should tap into your emotions and cry too.
- Quick question. Does she at least acknowledge the issue, and willing to work with you on improving?
Any effort on your part needs to be reciprocated. Everyone has some weakness or the other, stress, personal situations and other things. But there is no use (especially in a corporate situation) if they are unwilling to cooperate.
- Partially. She said she would always bring some emotions into work and want a workplace like family. I told her it's ok to have emotions sometimes, we're humans not robots, but be aware, control, and recover fast. She's not getting there. Besides, the company we're in is not like Facebook, first priority is getting shit done. Business is business. She had wrong expectation to start with.
- New ednapj01You said she is a good worker. If the issue truly lies with her emotional responses, you may want to question your comfort with emotions. Crying is never a bad thing, it's a release of fear and frustration. As a leader caring for the emotional state of your team is part of your job - hence why emotional intelligence is one of the top skills being sought.
You have followed the company procedures to address the issues, but with no success. It sounds that you have never directly addressed the issue head on. It's time for a very human conversation to get to the root cause of why the emotional outbursts are surfacing as work. Learning how to handle these situations is what set mere managers apart from great leaders. Here is your opportunity to set yourself apart
- Amazon MmhyngyvYou are judging her extremely harshly and threatening her job over something that has almost no impact on her actual ability to do her job. If I were in her shoes I would cry too.
Is she delivering? How are her technical skills? Those are the things you need to be focusing on. It’s a professional office environment, personally I would ignore her tears. It sounds like you are overreacting because you feel some cultural need to protect her. Check your own reflexes and learn to treat her more professionally. It’s not her job to make you feel good and be happy all the time. It’s her job to meet her goals.
If you fire her because she is too emotional I hope she sues you.
- It is unfortunate but you have to be professional in a work setting which involves having a lid on ones emotions. You expect men to keep a lid on their emotions as well don’t you? Same thing here applies to this woman. If she has issues they need to be worked out and outbursts in a work setting only hurts her credibility and might perturb all the team members.Dec 20
- Give her individual projects which don't require much collaboration. I've never managed but I would think the goal of a manager is to let people work together in the best way possible while also providing for individual personalities to have a comfortable work environment. Maybe if she's working solo she won't need to face the team as much and might even start being productive from home?
- Have you talked to her about whether she prefers roles with less collaboration, or if this is her ideal work setting?
Some senior ICs are very socially and emotionally awkward. I for one hey stressed out around people and spend lots of time holed up at home but I'm an ML scientist so I can afford to do that.
I would caution against becoming a psychologist because that will make it difficult to have a professional relationship. :(