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Revolving door position: Is it me or them?

Dear Office-Politics,

Our office has a new staff member who has been with us for 1 month. She was hired to fill a highly demanding position. She is very good in this position and we would hate to lose her, as she is the 4th person to take this job in a 1 year period.

Since she was hired, she has stated repeatedly that she could get another job anytime she wanted, and has quit 3 times. We managed to talk her into staying, but I feel as if we are being held hostage. She is what I would term a high maintenance employee who requires constant validation of her work, and refuses to accept correction. If she makes a request for material, or procedural changes it must be done immediately, or we are being “difficult and unhelpful”.

The last time that she “quit” she came into my office saying that she had another offer on the table and that she had a decision to make. She then told me that if I wanted her to stay then I would have to change my attitude and not constantly criticize her work. (Only one correction was made).

Since she wished to clear the air between us, I informed her that part of the way I reacted to her was because of the sheer quantity of things that she wants changed overnight, and how she reacted when things didn’t happen the way she wanted. Then she quit.

That said, I myself am not entirely blameless. I am not a diplomatic person, and although I try, I don’t always use the best words to express myself. I also have a great deal of difficulty tolerating people who constantly make threats, cry and yell. I do not believe it is appropriate in a professional environment. My boss has suggested that I should take a management class to learn how to talk to people, and I will look into it after my rush period is over. He feels that once I get to know this person better then the problems will vanish.

I am very doubtful that the problems will vanish on their own and was wondering if there was any advice that you could give me to handle situations like this? Can I expect this person to settle down, or is this behaviour likely to keep happening?


No Diplomat

arnie herz

Dear No Diplomat,

You admit you are “not a diplomatic person”, the new employee complains that you are overly critical and intolerant, and your boss, who has known you for awhile, believes the problem will resolve itself once you take a course to learn how to better communicate and relate to people.

Now your response is that you’ll get the training you need “later” but first help me fix this difficult person. I am not saying this employee is an easy person or that you should allow yourself to be manipulated. But given that it has been a revolving door position, I think you should attend to your shortcomings first. Then, when you begin to communicate effectively, you’ll see if the dynamic changes. If suddenly the relationships improves, then you’ll know it was you. And if the relationship does not improve, then you’ll know it is her.

Let me know how it goes. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.

Arnie Herz

Arnie Herz, is a lawyer, mediator, speaker, author and consultant nationally recognized for his practical and inspired approach to conflict resolution and client counseling. Visit his blog at LegalSanity.com

  1. One Answer to “Revolving door position: Is it me or them?”

  2. No Diplomat: because this is a revolving door position, you’re the last to recognize the flaw and its impact–it takes other people telling you this, and you undermine the importance of improvement, it must be you. no debate there.

    with the next hire, write down what you say. then hours later, reflect on each sentence and how you would feel if it was said to you. What you meant when you said it doesnt count. If you still dont see the problem, ask someone you have a good relationship with to read them and explain where the offense is.

    By Gigli on Nov 22, 2011

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