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Staff member in tears

(8 Posts)
emess Wed 21-Nov-12 23:10:10

I manage 3 people, one is on long-term sick. One is new and inexperienced. Third one broke down in tears in a meeting with me and ranted at me, all because I was trying to address some performance issues. Eg, some insubordination, not following procedures etc. We're all under stress due to being short-staffed, but she insists she's coping - although she also says she can't take more on. She is clearly struggling with the extra demands (she's covering stuff that she's not really comfortable with). I've been trying to stay positive but i'm struggling too and would love to delegate more. She's basically a really good worker, I expect her to be promoted soon - and told her this - and I was astonished at her outburst. I have already apologised. How do I play it tomorrow?

Bringbring Thu 22-Nov-12 00:27:19

It might not just be work which caused this outburst. You need to sit down together again somewhere soon. Or, if its not personal, you need to teach her how to modify her behaviour in readiness for promotion.

I wouldn't apologise, I would ask what you can do to help her manage her workload. Does she have clear priorities? Do you need to be around at certain times for support?

Then I would ask her what her strategies are for coping? How is she going to take responsibility for following procedure etc? You can build into a developmental strategy for her. She needs to suggest solutions herself.

Get it all written down, get her to take a copy and agree and then you can tackle on a month by month basis.

flowery Thu 22-Nov-12 09:36:44

She ranted at you and you apologised? And she's been insubordinate?

Why do you expect her to be promoted if she has performance issues, is there a position coming up that she is expected to fill, and if she's not managing her current role, why is she expected to achieve promotion into a new one?

Sorry for all the questions!

emess Thu 22-Nov-12 13:56:19

Thanks, I was expecting to be flamed for being a bully or something!

Bringbring and flowery: She usually looks after marketing activities and does it very well, hence likelihood of promotion. Also, we are expanding so, yes, there will be a role to fill. My impression is that she'd rather work on her own than having to follow someone else's rules and procedures. I tried exploring this with her on another occasion but she won't express a preference. She's not a shrinking violet by the way.

Person off sick looks after Finance, although they both have to have some knowledge of that. She's not happy doing finance - she's been up front about this since day one and I'm OK with that in general. Unfortunately we can't stop buying stuff and paying bills and I'm getting pulled in other (strategic) directions so I can't do much of the day-to-day stuff.

It would not be unlikely that she is pregnant, but she didn't indicate that.

Tricky because she won't accept that she's not coping: she has caused inaccuracies in our financial records - local record, not the master ones thank goodness - but it gives me more work, having to double check things (time I just don't have right now). I suppose I need to spend more time on staff development but I am struggling myself at the moment!

I do ensure I thank staff and show my appreciation frequently, but she seems a little insecure: she has asked several times verbally and in writing if I will support her self-nomination for promotion - before she has written it! She asked me to review her CV and I gave her some advice on tweaking it - she was exaggerating her responsibilities - but she did not take it.

I can't really afford to lose her just now but fear that may be what will happen.

Thanks for the responses.

Bigwuss Thu 22-Nov-12 17:48:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

emess Thu 22-Nov-12 18:46:42

Is there an end in sight? Not really because the sick person is signed off for 2 weeks at a time. I tried to get a temp in but no luck so far. One trainee on the team is enough - there's not a lot someone could pick up in 2 weeks anyway. Hard to see what further training could be provided: she claims 98% typing accuracy but when using a spreadsheet it's well short of that. People have told me she rushes things and I agree but she's not keen on taking advice. Of course it's hardly surprising she's rushing things.
Still, things were calm today thank goodness. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll see which ones I can follow up on.

onemorechoccybiccy Thu 22-Nov-12 18:54:49

She is rushing, making mistakes and bursting into tears?

Sounds like stress and overwork to me. If you can't provide a solution in terms of extra help then there's probably not a lot you can do. Hopefully, she won't keel over on you.

Sorry to be negative but this sounds like a fairly common scenario in today's workplace.

BerylStreep Sat 24-Nov-12 01:41:16

Just because she is good at her current role in marketing, does not mean she has the skills to be promoted. This pisses me off. People get paid for being good at their job. Promotion is not a reward for being good at your job - it is because you have demonstrated skills and abilities to be able to perform at a higher level, which, presumably, involves multi-tasking and resilience.

Why are you apologising for discussing performance issues? It sounds like she is manipulating you.

It sounds like you need to out some clear targets in place.

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