Crying at work and other experiments in emotion

Crying at work and other experiments in emotion



A co-worker of mine, who is a team leader but not a supervisor, has asked me to report him about my absence. He asked me repeatedly to let him know specifically if I was absent. I told them I would report my absence to my supervisor and then, if I wanted/felt comfortable doing so, would notify the entire team. He kept asking why I wouldn’t tell him; He will not move forward in the conversation. Eventually, they compromised and said that I should inform the entire team if I planned to be absent. I usually do this when I’ve decided in advance not to go to work, but it’s a courtesy, not an obligation.

I feel like it may come up again, and I don’t know how to explain myself in a way that my supervisor or this coworker will listen to me. My work environment is very informal, and I am the same age as this guy, which is why people don’t understand my reluctance. They see it as an easy, negotiable thing. But I don’t want to give someone an informal supervisor relationship over me.

If you can help me, it would be greatly appreciated. I think, for various instances, I need a polite way to reprimand this coworker without angering him further.

– Anonymous

Why is your colleague in your business like this? Is there a business reason why he needs personal information about your absence? If your absence materially impacts your coworkers, and knowing about your absence would help them plan their work around you, then yes, it would be wise to share this information. But if your absence will not affect the work of others, you need to report your absence only to your supervisor as per company protocol. There is no adequate explanation for someone who doesn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer. This co-worker understands you very well. He’s not hearing what he wants to hear. Stop explaining yourself to him. You have already explained what you will do, why and when you will do it.


I am a manager of managers. One of my managers is very vocal about her commitment to diversity, and her team is far more diverse than others, including many BIPOC employees and underrepresented genders. However, almost all of our low performers – as documented by quantitative performance metrics as well as 360 peer feedback – are on his team. His team struggles to meet deadlines and deliver quality work, and he has taken little action to address the challenges.

I’m concerned that this manager is potentially lowering her standards in hiring, and ignoring the quality of her team’s work, in order to maintain her commitment to diversity. This is obviously a sensitive topic. I don’t want to make it seem like we are targeting these employees, but the performance issues are well documented and clearly visible to the rest of the organization. What are your suggestions on how I should deal with this situation?

– Anonymous

Before you can resolve this situation, you need to look within yourself. Why isn’t every manager in your organization committed to diversity? Why do you believe that the demographic composition of this manager’s team is related to its performance metrics? The way you framed this question reflects an implicit, harmful, and unfortunately prevalent bias – that embracing and encouraging diversity means compromising excellence. Of course, this is absolutely false. People from underrepresented groups are just as capable as anyone else. They are just as flawed as anyone else.

So… if your manager’s team is performing poorly without any improvement, the team is being managed poorly. If your manager isn’t taking action to address his team’s quality issues, he’s a bad manager, and you need to address his inadequacies. If she also has biases and believes that she can’t give critical feedback to her team members for fear of appearing bigoted, she needs to get rid of this belief. If employees are unable to improve, they are going to perform poorly, but that poor performance has nothing to do with their identity.



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