HR Issues

Managing Emotional People

Undisclosed Schuber
Nov 30

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?

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  • Undisclosed ZXown78
    Ask the entire team to cry along in camaredrie
    Nov 301
  • Microsoft ImAwesome
    Stop making asian girls cry you jerk.
    Nov 306
    • Undisclosed Cobol06
      Stop liking your own comment you narcissist.
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      I didn't intend to. And I did everything as objective and constructive as I could. I'm an Asian too. Trust me, I didn't want her cry at all.
      Nov 30
    • Microsoft ImAwesome
      Is she single?
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      Single. And I don't want to comment on her personal life but it wasn't good.
      Nov 30
    • Amazon DipShit
      Single and a messed up personal life - send her my way
      Nov 30
    • Google 🅱️SUs
      Ah, as expected from DipShit
      Dec 1
  • Facebook wrxXv73V8k
    Ask your HRBP for help. As a manager this is the sort of thing they are there to help address.
    Nov 304
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      Our HRBP talked to her earlier the year. She didn't trust the HRBP.
      Nov 30
    • AT&T DDM2K
      It’s not really up to her, is it?
      Nov 30
    • Facebook wrxXv73V8k
      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.
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      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.
      Nov 30
  • Undisclosed Gofucj
    Sorry 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...
    Nov 301
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      Sorry buddy. It would have been easier if she doesn't perform.
      Nov 30
  • What wrong with her behavior? Ain’t all women behave like that?
    Nov 303
    • Microsoft kvitka
      Haha. No.
      Nov 30
    • AT&T DDM2K
      That exactly something I’d expect to hear from General George S. Patton.
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed (⌐■_■)
      Then Patton would slap her for crying. Then when she cries more, slap her again for that. Ad infinitum.
      Nov 30
  • 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.
    Nov 306
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      Yes. That's what I did. Given her personal situation, in a way she's looking for a dad/brother at work who could emotionally entertain her. But to be honest, with all good itentions, this is not my job. I have a big team to take care of and get a lot of things done.
      Nov 30
    • AT&T DDM2K
      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.
      Nov 30
    • 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 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      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.
      Nov 30
    • 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.
      Nov 30
    • Imagine it’s 1920 and instead of being “emotional”, she’s gay. Don’t try to judge her like most people would do. Just accept her for being gay instead of trying to solve this problem.
      Nov 30
  • Undisclosed KGHP41
    Talk to HR and make sure you CYA heavily.
    Nov 301
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      I did. And wrote a memo of what happened. Supersensitive in my place. Especially I'm a male manager.
      Nov 30
  • Microsoft HURi57
    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.
    Nov 303
    • Amazon allanact
      Well done
      Nov 30
    • Indeed Cobol06
      HURi57 you must be “this black guy.”
      Nov 30
    • Microsoft HURi57
      I'm actually a brown guy
      Nov 30
  • Undisclosed EpicEnzyme
    She’s about to find a box of uncounted sexual harassment votes
    Nov 300
  • Google qEGt36
    She has unrealistic expectations, team is not her family, you're not her dad/big brother. People here (especially all the women) would have no sympathy for the person at all if "she" is a "he" that wanted a big sister/mother in "his" manager.
    Dec 10
  • Microsoft @zzz
    Next time have a little more behavioral questions in your interview loop, especially for pm. Eq is one of the most important skills here.
    Nov 304
    • Indeed Cobol06
      Did you even read? OP inherited the team. *facepalm*
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      I wish I could. And our hiring pipeline is slow, I got two new guy join in Feb. At least sth positive.
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed (⌐■_■)
      The takeaway here is to hire more dudes. Haha suck it diversity.
      Nov 30
    • Salesforce Dje8474
      I hope your joking. Difficult personalities are everywhere across genders and races.
      Nov 30
  • Microsoft Holyd
    She 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.
    Dec 20
  • Cover your @$$. You don’t want another SF in Uber.
    Nov 300
  • Undisclosed Cobol06
    I’ve been in the same situation before. It could be that the current role is too stressful to her, or that she doesn’t get along with her team. I’d suggest you help her explore what other internal opportunities available at Amazon.
    Nov 300
  • Amazon BB!
    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?
    Nov 302
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      (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.
      Nov 30
    • Amazon BB!
      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
      Nov 30
  • Microsoft Minxd
    Someone going through a hard time and crying because they are suffering is very different from other inappropriate conducts. It’s cruel to make them feel worse for their pain.
    Dec 30
  • Microsoft 36)a@
    What if a man behaved this way? What if it was a female manager? Either way, time to find her some help and a way out or time off but if she’s a good worker and it’s just that you and the team can’t handle emotions, you’re the one with the issue.
    Nov 300
  • Microsoft kvitka
    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.
    Nov 300
  • IBM MBI
    What to do? I’d say what-not-to-do would be to share this story on Blind.. isn’t it the main job of a manager to tackle this kind of problems?
    Nov 300
  • Google gil
    What'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.
    Dec 21
    • Undisclosed KGHP41
      Wait. That argument then carries over to other human tendencies which are inappropriate in the workplace. At work you’re expected to have a certain level of professionalism. Let’s not change that.
      Dec 3
  • Microsoft @zzz
    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.
    Nov 301
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      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.
      Nov 30
  • You 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
    Nov 300
  • Amazon Mmhyngyv
    You 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.
    Dec 13
    • Google qEGt36
      I doubt the manager would care one bit if her antics did not impact job performance.
      Dec 1
    • Undisclosed KGHP41
      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 2
    • Amazon BB!
      It sounded like he was being reasonable and her behavior was effecting how the team interacts with her.

      He's trying to get her help- not boot her from the team
      Dec 2
  • Salesforce Dje8474
    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?
    Nov 303
    • Salesforce Dje8474
      Also when she communicates on slack and email is she professional?
      Nov 30
    • Undisclosed Schuber
      OP
      Isolation didn't work. She's a PM. I would use email and instant messaging more. It's easier for me to avoid poking those emotions and keep things purly technical and non-behavioral.
      Nov 30
    • Salesforce Dje8474
      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. :(
      Nov 30
  • New fbar0
    Ask her to visit psychologist or ask one of your team member to be her mentor (assuming she's a new employee)?
    Dec 10

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