I have a new team member who is constantly melting down. Our whole team is under a lot of pressure, and we’ve had to put our heads down to get the work out. Everyone has been able to do this—including me—except for my new team member who needs to be talked down from the ledge almost every day.
Lately a new pattern has emerged and I’m not sure what to do. She’s been yelling at me that I’m not doing a good enough job of managing our processes and that I don’t know what I am doing. It is kind of shocking the things she says. Then she calls me back 10 minutes later and cries and apologizes, and we walk through the process plan calmly. We make up and everything is okay until it happens again.
When she does the work it is good, but the cost is so high. Why does this keep happening? What can I do to stop it?
Dear Constant Drama,
It keeps happening because you allow it. Being a manager is hard, and you do want to create an environment where people can be human, but that is different from allowing yourself to be treated like a doormat.
Call your employee and tell her that you have thought about it and you realize that it is not appropriate for her to speak to you the way she has in the past—and that the next time it happens you will calmly end the meeting and remove yourself from the situation until she can calm down.
That’s it. People will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Just because you are a nice person and you feel bad that your employee is having a hard time with the increased workload doesn’t mean she is allowed to yell at you. If she can settle down and do the job the way it needs to be done, great. If not, she can take her drama elsewhere.
Don’t overthink this. Document each incident and if she can’t grow up and control herself, let her go. Life it too short to tolerate this kind of nonsense.
About the Author
Madeleine Homan Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.
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One thought on “New Team Member Is Yelling at You? Ask Madeleine”
I would also suggest considering whether a fundamental attribution error is at work here where we tend to behavior to internal rather than external causes. We too often assume people do what they do because of personality factors alone. In your next conversation try to uncover if any outside factors are influencing this employee’s behavior and actions?
What is the history of your relationship with this employee? Were things always the way they are today? If things have been deteriorating over time, is there a clear starting point?
Consider the positive? Are there qualities you can build on?
Consider to what extent you might be part of the problem?