Handling Difficult Peers

Reynalin Reyes

Director of Engineering at Cylance



"While managing an engineering team, I was expected to work closely with Product Managers, and managers from Sales and Marketing. However, there was one Product Manager I just couldn't get along with. She wanted to be in every meeting I had with my team. It was difficult for me because I think that meetings should only include people that absolutely need to be there, and she often didn't need to be. However, when I said that she was offended."

Actions taken

The Product Manager ended up complaining about me to her boss three times, who then spoke to my boss. After the third time, I became a little worried that I might be fired for this. I talked to my manager about the issue and asked him how I should handle this situation. He asked me how I felt when I was with my team and I replied that they made me happy, as I liked hanging out with them. He explained that I needed to picture her like that.

"I needed to picture her like that."

At first, I questioned the validity of his advice, and I found it hard to smile at her when I knew she was coming after me. But, I tried it, and it worked. She became a lot less hostile towards me. In addition, when she said she wanted an invite to a meeting, I would pause and then invite her. I realized there would be a lot less harm in inviting her than in not.

I did try to address the situation with her by saying that I wanted to apologize for speaking to her in the way I did, as there were times I had spoken harshly in meetings due to my frustration. However, I could tell she didn't want to talk about it, as she would just brush me off.

Lessons learned

"When dealing with someone who is having trouble with you, or someone you are having trouble with, put a smile on your face. People always tend to think that if someone is angry or upset, it's because of something they have done. However, there may be other things going on that are outside of your control. All I could control was how I responded to her. This lesson really helped, not just with her, but with other situations I have dealt with."

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Reynalin Reyes

Director of Engineering at Cylance

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