login


Google Sign inLinkedIn Sign in

Don't have an account? 

Handling Difficult Peers

Conflict solving
Internal Communication
Health / Stress / Burn-Out

13 August, 2018

Reynalin Reyes explains how she learned to handle difficult peers.

Problem

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. 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.


Related stories

How to Effectively Communicate on Slack
6 July

Shridharan Muthu, VP of Engineering at Zoosk, discusses effective communication using Slack including a recommended framework that entails three simple tips to make the most of the tool.

Internal Communication
Remote
Productivity
Shridharan Muthu

Shridharan Muthu

VP of Engineering, Backend Applications at Zoosk

Improving Collaboration Between Engineering and Product Across Time Zones
6 July

Shridharan Muthu, VP of Engineering at Zoosk, describes how to make communication effective between PMs and engineers when they are located in different time zones and have very little overlap.

Collaboration
Internal Communication
Reorganization
Remote
Shridharan Muthu

Shridharan Muthu

VP of Engineering, Backend Applications at Zoosk

An Acquisition Across Time Zones
6 July

Shridharan Muthu, VP of Engineering at Zoosk, speaks of the time his company was acquired by another org in a time zone half a world away, listing issues and providing solutions to how he overcame the time disparity while transferring product knowledge.

Reorganization
Internal Communication
Motivation
Remote
Shridharan Muthu

Shridharan Muthu

VP of Engineering, Backend Applications at Zoosk

Some Ideas for Breaking Down Silos In Your Organization
30 June

Jeff Foster, Head of Product Engineering, shares how he managed to break down silos in his organization by encouraging their employees to choose their own team.

Team reaction
Managing Expectations
Company Culture
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Productivity
Reorganization
Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster

Head of Product Engineering at Redgate

Prioritizing Tech Work vs. Product Work: The Incomplete Story
30 June

Jose Pettoruti, Director of Engineering at CurrencyCloud, shares some tips on how to prioritize and balance tech work with ever-emerging new features by working closely with the product team.

Collaboration
Internal Communication
Jose Pettoruti

Jose Pettoruti

Director of Engineering at CurrencyCloud

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.