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Old 06-24-2016, 04:50 AM
 
5 posts, read 14,744 times
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I would appreciate opinions from the people with leadership experience on this board. I recently became a supervisor of a team of 6. I work in government so it takes an act of Congress to fire someone. However, we do have a progressive discipline process. One of the employees has been working on the team for over 9 years, and she is the most knowledgeable of the team. However, when things don't go her way - she throws a tantrum - she gets very angry and expressive, but does not go to a violent extreme (eg throwing things around).

Yesterday, I had my first experience with her temper tantrums. I had to talk to her because one of our customers became upset after not being able to reach her on the phone. She threw a tantrum, and all I did was let her vent, and listened calmly in a professional way. She was frustrated as to why the customer couldn't leave her a message. Anyway, she started ranting to the other employees on the team, and I'm sure that raised their adrenaline levels. Temper throwers tend to bring down the morale of the workplace.

I hope to have a conversation with her today to say such behavior will not be tolerated, and that while she has a right to be frustrated, there are more appropriate and professional ways to express frustration. Again, for those who have worked in leadership, I would appreciate your input on the next step in this situation.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:19 AM
 
3,154 posts, read 3,059,687 times
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I don't think you can change her. Perhaps instead of becoming more oppressive by "telling" her this and that, you could consider ways to approach her that will not upset her so much. She's not upset because "things didn't go her way." She's probably a person who is sensitive and felt accused and judged by you, and can't hide how upset it made her. I have to wonder why you "had to talk to her" because of something a customer said, as though you took the customer's word over hers. Perhaps you could have handled that better. I thinking telling her again that she did something wrong will just upset her more and make her even more upset. You need consider managing her instead of just trying to dictate rules.
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Old 06-24-2016, 05:42 AM
 
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Ok, thanks for the input. I got a call from our director that the customer complained. This prompted me to go talk to her, per my directors suggestion.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Texas
1,316 posts, read 1,344,068 times
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If you can legally fire her do it..
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:30 AM
 
5 posts, read 14,744 times
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Originally Posted by shh1313 View Post
If you can legally fire her do it..

i mentioned in my post that it takes an act of congress to fire someone where I work.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,931 posts, read 8,394,310 times
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I disagree with mnseca. The employee is trying to control others by throwing temper tantrums, and avoiding confrontation is exactly what she wants. This would eventually reverse the power dynamic and make the OP a powerless supervisor.

You have to use the progressive discipline route. It is long, tedious, and can feel endless, but you have to do it, and do it consistently. Don't try to lump every one-off behavior in the disciplinary process though. If she is late once every three months, don't write her up for that, because you wouldn't write up anybody else for that. Fairness is important or you will be the subject of a complaint.

If you do your job and follow the progressive discipline route you will still be the recipient of a complaint. Talk to your boss and HR now. They are probably already aware of the problem, you need to step into your role and address it.

You can also act when the temper tantrums occur. Intervene, take her out of the area, and address the behavior immediately. She is pushing you to see your reaction, and passivity gives her the reaction she wants. Walk up to her, tell her she has to stop behaving this way Immediately, and pull her into hour office. Document the event, and add it to the ptogressive discipline file.

You should also not jump up a level of discipline fr every outburst. Let them add up. Give her a verbal, then let her pop off 2-3 times (all documented) before written. Bury her with evidence. When it gets to a formal hearing, she will inevitably complain that you reacted too quickly and her behavior wasn't deserving of discipline. Your counter argument is that you were measured in your response and only reluctantly escalated when molder measures did not work.

Yes,I have encountered similar behavior. I made mistakes the first time and it was unbearable. (How many supervisors has this woman run out before you?). The next couple of times it took months or years of documentation but I prevailed.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:47 AM
 
4,073 posts, read 2,936,413 times
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Is she screaming and raising her voice so loud that others can hear her? I know I've worked with folks who simply require a little venting for a few minutes, then they magically calm down after they've gotten it off their chest. As a manager on top of actually doing all of the managerial stuff, you're also frequently put into the position of the listener and almost a parental role where you have to just sit calmly and listen to your subordinates from time to time. Constantly chiding this woman for venting will likely get you nowhere with her.

But if she IS screaming at the top of her lungs that becomes a separate issue and something I would continue to document as it occurs. I would also document the fact that a customer complained. As the poster above mentioned, it's a long process so unless you document, document, document you'll never have a foot to stand on if/when it becomes a serious issue.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:49 AM
 
436 posts, read 329,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnseca View Post
I don't think you can change her. Perhaps instead of becoming more oppressive by "telling" her this and that, you could consider ways to approach her that will not upset her so much. She's not upset because "things didn't go her way." She's probably a person who is sensitive and felt accused and judged by you, and can't hide how upset it made her. I have to wonder why you "had to talk to her" because of something a customer said, as though you took the customer's word over hers. Perhaps you could have handled that better. I thinking telling her again that she did something wrong will just upset her more and make her even more upset. You need consider managing her instead of just trying to dictate rules.
It sounds like you're painting the OP as guilty and I disagree with that. I think Fishbrains hit the nail on the head. Stand your ground but do it in a controlled fashion. Have a plan for how to deal with the tantrums in terms of documentation and a system of punishment.

Don't get me wrong, there is a need to understand sensitivity but it sounds like the OP handled things pretty well the first time.

To the OP, do you have regular one on ones with this employee? Maybe opening the lines of communication will help or at least provide a platform for getting to know each other on a personal level that doesn't involve her being amped up.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:54 AM
 
Location: In a city within a state where politicians come to get their PHDs in Corruption
1,467 posts, read 1,131,272 times
Reputation: 2970
Quote:
Originally Posted by fty5 View Post
I would appreciate opinions from the people with leadership experience on this board. I recently became a supervisor of a team of 6. I work in government so it takes an act of Congress to fire someone. However, we do have a progressive discipline process. One of the employees has been working on the team for over 9 years, and she is the most knowledgeable of the team. However, when things don't go her way - she throws a tantrum - she gets very angry and expressive, but does not go to a violent extreme (eg throwing things around).

Yesterday, I had my first experience with her temper tantrums. I had to talk to her because one of our customers became upset after not being able to reach her on the phone. She threw a tantrum, and all I did was let her vent, and listened calmly in a professional way. She was frustrated as to why the customer couldn't leave her a message. Anyway, she started ranting to the other employees on the team, and I'm sure that raised their adrenaline levels. Temper throwers tend to bring down the morale of the workplace.

I hope to have a conversation with her today to say such behavior will not be tolerated, and that while she has a right to be frustrated, there are more appropriate and professional ways to express frustration. Again, for those who have worked in leadership, I would appreciate your input on the next step in this situation.
Employees such as this one, who throw temper tantrums, often over insignificant problems are highly insecure, posses low self-esteem, and are a psychological drain on supervisors--if you allow yourself to be sucked in.


This employee will never come around. Stay calm, use your progressive discipline process in place and follow the procedures. Don't feel sorry for her, don't try to be her best friend, and certainly do not become her shrink.
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Old 06-24-2016, 06:57 AM
 
Location: North of Boston
444 posts, read 483,916 times
Reputation: 519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnseca View Post
She's probably a person who is sensitive and felt accused and judged by you, and can't hide how upset it made her.
Seriously? if she can't handle mild criticism then she needs to grow up. Who yells? children and people who aren't intelligent enough to get their point across in a normal civilized manner.

I have a one strike tolerance policy for that crap. yell once shame on you, yell at me again? put your stuff in a box.
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