Feb 16, 2021
A manager cried in front of me.
I sat with one of the design managers in the room.
I panicked. It was the first time someone cried at work.
“I’m not feeling good about myself,” she said.
Crying is a form of vulnerability. She was being vulnerable in front of me. Meaning she somewhat trusts me.
My knee-jerk reaction was to help her solve a 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.
Then, I quickly realized I need to listen, idiot.
I took a pause for a few minutes. After those awkward silence, she started to talk and share things in a very unstructured way. I only listen and help her structure her thoughts. In the end, we concluded that she’s not feeling great because she was burned out and feeling incompetent about her ability to coach her designers.
We somehow come to that conclusion because I listened and give her room to speak.
Is there any solution to that? Well, no. Not yet. I offered her to meet again 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.