Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • northernsaver
    • By northernsaver 15th Oct 16, 9:32 PM
    • 42Posts
    • 14Thanks
    northernsaver
    Clingy employee
    • #1
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:32 PM
    Clingy employee 15th Oct 16 at 9:32 PM
    Hi all. Hoping you can help me with a clingy employee.

    I've been managing R for a few months now, & gained 2 new employees a few weeks ago following a promotion. Me & R have a nice relationship. She's told me I'm like 'an older sister' and 'a friend as well as a manager'. I'm always encouraging her, and praising her as it's her first proper job & she's doing a great job.

    Over the last few weeks, I feel like she's needing more & more attention from me. I feel like it's my own fault for encouraging it, by being friendly and always available, and now need a way to politely back out.

    Last week I had a lot of work on, so wasn't able to 1. reply to her IMs straight away & 2. make conversion in the IMs. My replies were answering her questions without making them into long sentences (& stopping using smilies after each sentence; something she does). I asked her to sort something for me, and knew she was having difficulty with it - so I gave her a few suggestions but didn't go over to her PC on purpose, so she'd try and figure it out herself.

    I thought this was OK; I was still being nice and polite. But the day after, when I had a catch up with her, she burst into tears and said she 'doesn't know where she stands with me' & 'feels ignored'. I felt horrible at the time but now feel annoyed she hasn't understood I'm not there just for her and can't always be available to her. She could see how busy I was, and even said 'I've noticed how busy you are'.

    My attitude didn't change towards her; she said it was because 'I wasn't talking to her as much' - but I was talking to other team members 'normally' who sit next to me (R sits behind me)

    I want to 'step up' in my role and not be quite so available to her - 1. so I can do my job and 2. so she can step up herself and take more responsibility - but I'm not sure how I can do this without doing what I've done, which has upset her.

    Has anyone had dealings like this in the past? Any advice would be appreciated.
Page 1
    • surreysaver
    • By surreysaver 15th Oct 16, 9:45 PM
    • 1,983 Posts
    • 1,163 Thanks
    surreysaver
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:45 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:45 PM
    Some people feed off others' friendliness and helpfulness. Just tell her straight you cannot constantly give her attention. Just let her emotions go above your head.
    I consider myself to be a male feminist. Is that allowed?
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    • 7,415 Posts
    • 26,032 Thanks
    Nicki
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:54 PM
    When you're managing someone quite a bit more junior you can't suddenly change the way you behave towards them without explanation. If you've always been happy to be chatty and available to her I'm not surprised she's upset and confused that as soon as two new members of staff started you've changed.

    You need to explain to her that things have changed and give a reason. I'd suggest you say something along the lines of that now she is more experienced in the role you'd like to see her start to take more initiative and then when she sends an email asking for help it's more natural for you to ask her to try t to solve the problem for herself first.

    You can move things but you need to do this naturally and over time otherwise inevitably it's going to look like you've disengaged from her. Think how you would want to be treated by someone more senior to you and behave in the same way to her. It's not her fault that you started the working relationship with fewer boundaries than you are now comfortable with.
    • northernsaver
    • By northernsaver 15th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    northernsaver
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 10:06 PM
    When you're managing someone quite a bit more junior you can't suddenly change the way you behave towards them without explanation. If you've always been happy to be chatty and available to her I'm not surprised she's upset and confused that as soon as two new members of staff started you've changed.

    You need to explain to her that things have changed and give a reason. I'd suggest you say something along the lines of that now she is more experienced in the role you'd like to see her start to take more initiative and then when she sends an email asking for help it's more natural for you to ask her to try t to solve the problem for herself first.

    You can move things but you need to do this naturally and over time otherwise inevitably it's going to look like you've disengaged from her. Think how you would want to be treated by someone more senior to you and behave in the same way to her. It's not her fault that you started the working relationship with fewer boundaries than you are now comfortable with.
    Originally posted by Nicki
    Thanks for the advice, Nicki. I haven't changed personally towards her, in my attitude etc - I've just not been able to give her as much time. She's witnessed this though- she has seen more people coming to my desk; me in more meetings, so would have assumed she'd understand. I shouldn't have assumed!
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 16th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
    • 14,324 Posts
    • 36,465 Thanks
    FBaby
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:45 AM
    You have changed towards though, you say it yourself in your first post. You might not have changed the way you feel about her, but you have changed your attitude in that you are being less communicative and understandably, she is ready something negative behind the change.

    Your reasons are perfectly valid, but I think you are being unfair towards expecting her to have assumed that it was because you were suddenly busy. What was wrong with talking to her, and say that you are coming up with a lot of workload and therefore might not be as available but she shouldn't take it as you being distant. She would have known what to expect and not started to get paranoid.

    Your title is about her being clingy though, so I get that there is more to it than you just being suddenly busier. Again, if you think that she should start to act more independently, then you need to make it clear to her rather than wanting her to guess your shift in expectation.
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 16th Oct 16, 9:58 AM
    • 4,700 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Kynthia
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:58 AM
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 16, 9:58 AM
    I agree with the others. To her you suddenly stopped helping her as much and sent abrupt messages without smile faces which may have meant you were upset with her. This sudden change upset her. I'm not saying you are wrong as obviously you can't continue treating her as if she's new and it must be draining fir you to have someone needing you too much. However let her know the plan in advance. Tell her you are now busier so won't be as available, that you are going to stand back after giving her a task to see if she now has learnt enough to figure it out for herself, and that you may now rely more on her with giving her new tasks and more work to support you. This combined with still giving her support, but after she's tried on her own first, for a whole may help. It's difficult to disentangle yourself from that constant support but hopefully it can be done without tears.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • elsien
    • By elsien 16th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    • 13,655 Posts
    • 33,141 Thanks
    elsien
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    Smilie faces are for social media, not work place communications between line manager and employee.
    It might be her first job but saying you're like an older sister looks like the boundaries have got a little bit blurred somewhere along the way. Only you can say whether that's more to do with her, with your management style, or a bit of both but maybe it's something you need to consider for future reference.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • paddyrg
    • By paddyrg 16th Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    • 12,631 Posts
    • 10,734 Thanks
    paddyrg
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:20 AM
    Wrangling people is tough, and it's always a fine line, and always a balancing act.

    One option may be to take her for a coffee first thing tomorrow morning and not so much talk it through as equals or anything, but just help reframe things a bit for her.

    "Hi R, just wondering how you were doing after last week? You're right, I was less available to you because my workload is increasing - that's just life! It's great you've felt supported so far, I try to support everyone and also help them grow to the point where they can take my job, and sometimes that means having to step back. I'm still getting used to some things my job requires, and in order for our team to carry on during this time of change I'm trying to balance everything. It's not personal, some days I'll chat more than others, and some days I'm grumpy and stressed!"

    "As soon as things settle a little, we'll be able to start looking at how we can share more of the work!"

    Maybe some twist on that - explain the position, that it isn't going to change, but that you're aware it's been difficult and you're not cutting her out. You can even imply a shared confidence like 'to keep the team together' suggesting you're dealing with bigger things.
    • andygb
    • By andygb 16th Oct 16, 10:48 AM
    • 11,023 Posts
    • 22,947 Thanks
    andygb
    • #9
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:48 AM
    • #9
    • 16th Oct 16, 10:48 AM
    When you are managing staff, there have to be invisible barriers, because all staff have to be treated equally (very difficult to achieve I know), and at the end of the day you go to work - to work. I have never used any "smileys" in work emails to staff, and I have never had time to write small essays, they have contained only relevant facts.
    It sounds as if "R" has assumed a kind of "pet" status, which can cause all kinds of problems in the workplace.
    • northernsaver
    • By northernsaver 16th Oct 16, 1:50 PM
    • 42 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    northernsaver
    Thanks everybody - lots of helpful stuff here. I've clearly tried to move on too fast and shape things too quickly.

    Appreciate all the comments.
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 16th Oct 16, 2:53 PM
    • 2,635 Posts
    • 2,538 Thanks
    TELLIT01
    When you are managing staff, there have to be invisible barriers, because all staff have to be treated equally (very difficult to achieve I know).....
    Originally posted by andygb
    Equally yes, but not all handled in the same way. Staff on the same grade, and even with the same level of experience, work differently and react differently. Some prefer / want to be left to their own devices, and as long as they are performing well that's OK, so long as it doesn't develop to the stage where the manager doesn't actually now what they are doing, or if they are actually performing well.
    Others do need more reassurance, but it does need to be made clear to this type that they are expected to think for themselves and not expect their manager / team leader / more experienced staff member to provide them with all the answers.
    The OP does need to sit down with the staff member and explain the situation, without alienating the person.
    • YouAsked
    • By YouAsked 17th Oct 16, 9:03 AM
    • 95 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    YouAsked
    I was interested that you use IM to communicate. Is this normal in your workplace? I see IMs for quite informal stuff "can I take an early lunch so I can nip into the bank" etc - I wouldn't think they were the right vehicle for actual work related queries and I'm just wondering if this is another indication of blurred boundaries? Could you be leaving yourself open to anything by communicating this way?

    It might be the case that this IS normal in your workplace and if so, please disregard.
    • Kynthia
    • By Kynthia 17th Oct 16, 9:32 AM
    • 4,700 Posts
    • 6,713 Thanks
    Kynthia
    Thanks everybody - lots of helpful stuff here. I've clearly tried to move on too fast and shape things too quickly.

    Appreciate all the comments.
    Originally posted by northernsaver
    Good luck. Managing staff can be tricky as they are all different with different needs, capabilities, ways and speed of learning, reactions to situations, etc.
    Don't listen to me, I'm no expert!
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 17th Oct 16, 1:09 PM
    • 13,798 Posts
    • 7,304 Thanks
    motorguy
    I was interested that you use IM to communicate. Is this normal in your workplace? I see IMs for quite informal stuff "can I take an early lunch so I can nip into the bank" etc - I wouldn't think they were the right vehicle for actual work related queries and I'm just wondering if this is another indication of blurred boundaries? Could you be leaving yourself open to anything by communicating this way?

    It might be the case that this IS normal in your workplace and if so, please disregard.
    Originally posted by YouAsked


    I've worked in places where IM is the first means of communication.


    O/P, if you are particularly busy, theres usually an option in which ever IM variant you use to put a "do not disturb" message on, or "Working on XYZ at the minute will reply when I can".


    As has been said already, this person has been used to undivided attention and now suddenly isn't getting it.
    Regards

    Paul
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

145Posts Today

3,350Users online

Martin's Twitter