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Today, my leader made me cry

Written By: Megan Love

Today, my leader made me cry.

That sounds like a terrible day, especially to someone who deals with the effects from workplace trauma every day. It’s worse when it was during a 1:1 and there is deep anxiety from trauma around 1:1s.

Several years ago, I worked for a leader that had been vibrant and fun before suddenly turning cold, quiet, and honestly rude. She wouldn’t speak to her team unless they pinged her first and got permission to come over to her desk. There were no hellos, goodbyes, and Universe help you if you tried to chat. All you would get was an RBF stare.

One day, she sent out an email stating that she would be starting 1:1 meetings with each team member and to kick these off, she wanted us to reply to her email with our feedback of her as a manager. Every fiber of my being screamed like Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!” But I had been through some shit, and I trusted that I could share the nicest honest feedback (my trust only went so far there, so full honesty was not even in the same country as this request). So I replied that it had been noticed that she had stopped saying hello to the team and that small gesture would go a long way toward team morale. I’m not about to blow smoke up someone’s ass and say they’re perfect and I have nothing but great feedback. But that was small, true, answered the question, and was the least harmful I could offer.

During the 1:1, my feedback was discussed and turned back on me. She said that it was *my* responsibility to maintain the happiness of the team and she would not be changing with my feedback. She tore me down to the point that I left the meeting in tears, and because she chose the conference room furthest from our desks, the ENTIRE OFFICE witnessed my puffy red face.

I assume someone with pull said something about not doing it again because the next week, I had a 2:1 with my lead and her lead. To make sure I would be comfortable. Right. That meeting included me being put on a PIP and having to write out my own SMART goals for what THEY felt I was failing at. It ended with me going to my car to calm down, use some eye drops, and clean my face with witch hazel, both of which I had begun keeping in my car.

It’s no wonder I literally laughed and thanked them for laying me off a few weeks after I went to HR about their behavior.

So this morning, as always, I fought my anxiety. But you see, these days, things are different. When my lead casually asked me for feedback on her performance with me and focused on assuring me that our meetings are a safe space, I fully trusted her. I was able to tell her that I didn’t need her to change anything, and that at the risk of sounding like a suck up, I was grateful to have her as a boss. That knowing I could come to her with anything is a huge relief. She shared some of the really lovely feedback about me she’s heard and that she really appreciates having me on her team, that she shares her vision and I head off and make it happen.

This morning, my leader made me cry, and I’m ok.


Meet the Author

I am a jack of all trades with experience in real estate, title, and the mortgage industry.


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