I have a new employee in our office who is really sensitive. Even when I give necessary, constructive feedback, which is required regularly for a new employee to learn, she always gets really upset and defensive, retells it in a way that’s blown way out of proportion, and then tells people in the office I’m being too hard on her. Other people that have heard our interactions have volunteered that they think she’s too sensitive and overreacting, but I also understand an employee’s perception, even if skewed, is her reality, and I need to treat it with that level of seriousness.
I’ve asked how she likes to hear coaching, and I’ve softened my approach. It’s still not enough, and it seems like she just can't take any criticism, no matter how much sugar I add to the medicine.
I’m pretty frustrated at this point. I want to be able to communicate with her in a way that is how she wants to hear it, but honestly, I also want her to be a professional and realize that not every person in life or at work is going to handle you with kid gloves and sugar coat everything for you so it’s comfortable for you.
I’ve also had to shield her from my boss, who can be a real jerk at times, and he does not care how employees want to hear feedback, he delivers feedback the way he wants to. So I have to walk on eggshells with that situation also.
To make this worse, she’s my only female direct report on our team, and people are making jokes about how the two women can’t get along, reinforcing a stereotype that I hate.