Feb 16, 2021 | by Budi Tanrim
A manager cried in front of me.
I sat with one of the design managers in the room.
She suddenly cried.
“I’m not feeling good about myself,” she said.
I was panicked. It was the first time someone cried to me at work.
My knee-jerk reaction was to help her solve the problem, “What happened? What makes you feel that way?” “I don’t know,” she quickly replied. I tried to make wild guesses. But the more I made those guesses, the quieter she had become.
I need to listen, idiot. I realized
I paused for a few minutes. After the awkward silence, she started to talk and shared things in a very unstructured way. I listened and helped her structure her thoughts. In the end, we had a feeling that she was not feeling great because of burned out and feeling incompetent about her ability to coach her designers.
Was there any solution to that? No. At least, not yet. What she needed was to come to that realization. I offered to meet the next day. “I might not know all the answers, but let’s work on this together,” I said.
Sometimes, we need to listen first before giving suggestions.
P.S. Yes, we worked things out. We navigate through those challenges together. Most importantly, she took a short break too after I insisted. Yes, she is a bit workaholic.