Author Topic: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update New Question #48  (Read 12741 times)

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Lynnv

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #45 on: October 25, 2012, 09:49:42 AM »
I feel bad for the folks who have been pushed around and out while you were devoting energy to keeping someone on board who neither appreciated it nor asked for it.

If I was a member of the presentation group, I would be relieved (I hate doing presentations) AND extremely annoyed.  After my group did all the work to put this together, and I psyched myself up to do a presentation, then to get pushed out at the last minute because of Jen's neediness and drama would probably push me right out of the group, or at least out of wanting to take on any responsibilities.  After all, any work I did from there on would be in danger of being ignored or overriden by one needy member.

The group doesn't have a way to remove members?  It needs to find a way-or get one added to the bylaws (I am guessing this is a somewhat formal group as you have presentations and such).  Or at least a way to remove members such as Jen from any leadership positions due to misbehavior.
Lynn

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Jaelle

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #46 on: October 25, 2012, 10:16:02 AM »
I agree with others. If I were a member of this group, I'd probably be considering leaving myself because of the way Jen has been coddled and how her feelings were valued over other members'. (Poor Tomas!)

You are a good person. :)  But you are not responsible for making sure Jen's feelings aren't hurt.
“She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don't apply to you.”
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NutellaNut

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #47 on: October 25, 2012, 11:20:30 AM »
OP here!

First - I hear you all loud and clear.  I will not be chasing after Jen in any way to try to get her to stay in the club.  If she contacts me I am willing to speak with her but I don't intend to coddle her.  I can be empathetic for her difficulties while still making it clear that people deserve better behavior from her. 

I also hear you all that we shouldn't have given in to her.  Hindsight is 20/20, and it's a lot easier when outside the situation to see what we should and shouldn't have done.  Neither the event organizer or myself have much experience in dealing with someone like Jen.  We knew she would cause a scene - or two - if she wasn't permitted to do the presentation, and that the very reasonable people in the group planning to do the presentation would be more gracious about it.  Was it wrong to let the obnoxious squeaky wheel get the grease - absolutely.  It's just really hard at the time to know how to handle it.  And truth be told, we were hoping against hope that if we pointed out that her insistence on doing it herself was pushing out the other folks, she would back off and let them do what they had prepared.  We just didn't understand Jen was incapable or unwilling to see the other side of things.   Anyway, as it happened, Jen left the convention early enough that most of the group presenters didn't even know that there was a question about them doing it, and still don't know about the situation.  Those of us involved in the situation are not trying to spread word about it; only Jen has really been talking about it to random people, as she tells people she's quitting.

On that front, my goal at this time is to work on controlling the damage she has done to other people, and the fallout from her leaving.  She is saying she was bullied out of the club; a couple of key people, including her mentor, know that this isn't true, and are prepared to say that to people who ask them about the situation.  I am prepared to talk about it with anyone who asks, but I also think it's best if I don't initiate discussions for the most part.  Tomas knows that I am in his corner, and so are several other people, and we will work in the future to correct the impressions of him that Jen wrongly created.  Part of the issue there is that the more attention you give to bad rumors, the more they can seem founded in some fact.  So we will go slow and subtle, unless asked about things directly.  Tomas was just elected to a big office in his home group, which is a strong validation that many people who have known him for many years place a great deal of trust in him, so I feel confident, now, that we will overcome this situation as far as he goes.   All of us in the community that know about the difficulties with Jen will be on the lookout for concerns and issues from others who may have been disturbed or upset by any of the recent kerfluffles.

I really appreciate everyone's perspective on this.  I will never feel good about all of this - there's just too much pain for too many people for me to feel good about it at all.  But I have to get to a place where I move forward, back to the club I care about and the fun that we have and the good that we do, and you all are helping me get there.
 

NutellaNut

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #48 on: November 04, 2012, 01:40:09 PM »
Aaaand it's not over!  OP here again.

I had hoped that because things were quiet, that either Jen truly had quit, or perhaps was cooling down and seeing things in a more reasonable light.  So I hoped against hope that either I wouldn't have to deal with her, or things might be a little bit better, if I did.  Foolish and forlorn hope, I know.

Yesterday Jen responded to a group email, just a simple comment on a link someone posted, but that made me wonder if she was not truly leaving the club.  And then, I found out that yesterday, Jen also sent a private message to the organizer of the event two weeks ago (Sandy, who Jen had previously mocked as "too pious" to participate in Jen's activity) - the one who, with me, had told Jen that yes, she could do the presentation, but that we weren't happy that at the last minute she was usurping the local group from doing it.  In her message to Sandy, Jen called her unXian for making others feel rotten because of her jealousy.

I think that Sandy will probably block Jen's internet access to her.  She's trying not to give her too much headspace.  She also plans to avoid any club activities that she suspects Jen will be at, for the next few months.  She just doesn't want to be around her at all.

New Question for me, however: since it seems likely that I will encounter Jen at club functions in the next couple of months, how do I handle this?  We still hold joint office until next spring.  For the good of the club there is work that needs to be done.  I don't know if Jen will just act like nothing happened, or what.  If I didn't hold this office and theoretically have to work side by side with her, I would pretty much give her the cut direct at this point.  Since I do, is coldly-polite the way to go?  I'm pretty sure it won't be useful to say anything about the issues, or defend myself against her charges that I am a bully.  I could ask for my own meeting with her and neutral parties, but I don't think there's any use, that it will change anything.  I am willing to do what I must to finish out our terms, and will conduct myself politely and reasonably, without a meeting.  She obviously took away very little from the meeting about her and Tomas, and I don't believe a second meeting for the two of us would result in any change in her attitude. 

Any suggestions?  Ideas?  Virtual hard liquor and/or Xanax?  My stomach is just in knots.


Shoo

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Coldly polite is what I'd recommend.  I wouldn't bother trying to solve this either.  She's not fixable, IMO.  The best you can do is just get through it.  And when the time comes that you CAN give her the cut direct, then you should definitely do so.

buvezdevin

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Is it possible to specify that you will work with Jen, as required by your joint positions, but all communications must be by email only to avoid/limit any further communication issues?

While email isn't optimal for all general communications, in your shoes I would rather avoid or limit personal interaction with Jen, and would want a written record of all business communications with her regarding the club.

Requiring Jen to communicate with you by email is not the cut direct, allows joint work, but you do not have to engage her in anything other than business discussion, being cooly polite in person.  If she attempts to discuss business in person, or otherwise engage personally, you could tell her you will only discuss the club business with her by email to allow clear communication and record of same, and then be uninterested in discussing non-business matters (bean dip, or polite avoidance).
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
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AngelicGamer

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OP, I don't know if this would work because I can't remember if you were elected or appointed, but I thought I'd throw it out there.  Could there be a special election for people to vote for things to remain the same, remove Jen from the position and keep you, or remove you from the office and keep Jen?  Yes, it means that some issues would come out to the light of day, but it might be best for the club in the long run.  Also, the only reason I give the last option is to make sure that it is equal.

Plus, if they remove you from the office and keep Jen, they might just see that her crazy is real and you're not a bully.  It means you won't have to interact with Jen and you could run for the office again if allowed.




"Life's tough, huh?  And then you die." ~ Buck, the Magnificent Seven.

JenJay

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So Jen sent a private nastygram to Sandy and Sandy's response is to delete it and scale back her involvement with the group?? Why isn't she forwarding it to someone higher-up with a note that says "As you know I've tried to deal with Jen politely and professionally. Clearly she has no intention of extending me the same courtesy. I am asking you, as the (title) of this organization to please intervene on my behalf. If you chose not to I will have no choice but to resign from the club. This cannot continue, how many members will have to leave before someone steps in?"

As for your interaction with her, I agree with PPs that it should be in writing at all times and possibly even CCd so someone in a neutral position can monitor her. This... person... can't be trusted to behave reasonably so at the very least I'd be looking to protect myself by making sure I'm never forced to interact with her without witnesses.

yokozbornak

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Sorry you are having to deal with this.  My suggestion may be a little off the wall, but I would stop copying her on emails and communicating club business with her.  Take her at her word. If she gets demanding, then let her know that since she said she quit, you see no point in communicating with her.  I know that will probably bring this issue to a head, but it needs to come to that.  You have decent people quitting because of this person.  Stop trying to make it easy on her. This needs to play out now because your club is just going to continue to lose good people.

GSNW

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I think it's really a sad commentary on how far this has gone that Sandy feels she has no other choice but to scale back involvement.  Jen is wreaking havoc here and though you guys have made some really diplomatic efforts to fix things, it appears that the intended outcome has not materialized.  If anything, it has gotten worse.

Whether Jen is quitting or not is immaterial at this point, and in fact, the Dance of Uncertainty here seems to be a further manipulation on her part.  If your club doesn't have a mechanism for kicking someone out, it's time to develop one.  There seems to be some sort of structure, as evidenced by the offices, positions, mentorships, etc.  Hopefully a group of area leaders can get together and develop some sort of parameters by which this can happen. 

The message to be sent is simple.  "Jen, we have tried to fix these issues on multiple occasions.  Unfortunately, your actions at X convention, as well as your choice to send an inappropriate and abusive email to member Sandy X, demonstrate that you are not going to deal fairly with your fellow members.  As such, you are no longer invited to pursue X interest within the confines of this club.  No further communication on this matter will be necessary."

It seems like you guys have a good dynamic going with people who work together and share a common interest.  Jen will continue to ruin that as long as she is allowed to do so.

Hunter-Gatherer

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I think it's really a sad commentary on how far this has gone that Sandy feels she has no other choice but to scale back involvement.  Jen is wreaking havoc here and though you guys have made some really diplomatic efforts to fix things, it appears that the intended outcome has not materialized.  If anything, it has gotten worse.

Whether Jen is quitting or not is immaterial at this point, and in fact, the Dance of Uncertainty here seems to be a further manipulation on her part.  If your club doesn't have a mechanism for kicking someone out, it's time to develop one.  There seems to be some sort of structure, as evidenced by the offices, positions, mentorships, etc.  Hopefully a group of area leaders can get together and develop some sort of parameters by which this can happen. 

The message to be sent is simple.  "Jen, we have tried to fix these issues on multiple occasions.  Unfortunately, your actions at X convention, as well as your choice to send an inappropriate and abusive email to member Sandy X, demonstrate that you are not going to deal fairly with your fellow members.  As such, you are no longer invited to pursue X interest within the confines of this club.  No further communication on this matter will be necessary."

It seems like you guys have a good dynamic going with people who work together and share a common interest.  Jen will continue to ruin that as long as she is allowed to do so.

POD. 

Her "quitting" was just a callous attempt to get people to say, "Oh no!  Poor thing.  Please don't leave us."  When it didn't work, right back she came, completely ignoring that she'd ever done it and right back to her old ways. 

The longer this goes on without Jen being thrown out, the more she'll hurt the club, and the more good people you'll lose just so you can have the pleasure of her disfunction.  Someone needs to get all the people in authority together and make it happen, or else it will eventually destroy the club.

Deetee

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I think it's really a sad commentary on how far this has gone that Sandy feels she has no other choice but to scale back involvement.  Jen is wreaking havoc here and though you guys have made some really diplomatic efforts to fix things, it appears that the intended outcome has not materialized.  If anything, it has gotten worse.

Whether Jen is quitting or not is immaterial at this point, and in fact, the Dance of Uncertainty here seems to be a further manipulation on her part.  If your club doesn't have a mechanism for kicking someone out, it's time to develop one. 

-snip-

POD. 

-snip-

The longer this goes on without Jen being thrown out, the more she'll hurt the club, and the more good people you'll lose just so you can have the pleasure of her disfunction.  Someone needs to get all the people in authority together and make it happen, or else it will eventually destroy the club.

POD
Do you know how sometimes we tell people you don't have a MIL problem, you have a husband problem? This is starting to feel like the club doesn't have a Jen problem, they have a lack of leadership problem.

Every. single. time. you aquience to Jen's completely unreasonable demands, you are telling everyone else "Sandy is more important than you. Our club will respond to someone to whines and sulks and threatens. We will try to make her happy at your cost."

Kick her out yesterday and focus half the attention you did on Jen the reasonable people the leadership is driving away from the club (I count at least 3 in direct action and a lot more in indirect I am sure) and the club will be the better.

Inclusive and safe and welcoming environment does NOT mean you welcome those that stomp on everyone else. It means you protect people from being stomped on.
Edit to correct the name, Thx for pointing that out
« Last Edit: November 04, 2012, 09:07:00 PM by Deetee »

TootsNYC

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(a Jen problem--Deetee got the names mixed up)

Where is Jen's mentor? She or he really needs to step up to the plate and give Jen some instructions.

I couldn't believe that in October, when Jen was talking about quitting, you didn't all say, "You know, you're right--this isn't fun for you anymore, and I bet you'd enjoy the club a LOT more if you'd scale back." And then create an alternate reality for her that she's so busy, she doesn't have time for all this leadership stuff.

And now, the mentor needs to be speaking with Jen. That's the purpose of having mentors.

SleepyKitty

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #58 on: November 04, 2012, 07:20:16 PM »
We still hold joint office until next spring.  For the good of the club there is work that needs to be done.  I don't know if Jen will just act like nothing happened, or what.  If I didn't hold this office and theoretically have to work side by side with her, I would pretty much give her the cut direct at this point.

I would give her the cut-direct anyway. Go to whomever is above you in the organization and bluntly tell them that you will no longer deal with her. Inform then that they now need to find a solution. Then leave it in their hands.

Queen of Clubs

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POD
Do you know how sometimes we tell people you don't have a MIL problem, you have a husband problem? This is starting to feel like the club doesn't have a Sandy problem, they have a lack of leadership problem.

Every. single. time. you aquience to Sandy's completely unreasonable demands, you are telling everyone else "Sandy is more important than you. Our club will respond to someone to whines and sulks and threatens. We will try to make her happy at your cost."

Kick her out yesterday and focus half the attention you did on Sandy on the reasonable people the leadership is driving away from the club (I count at least 3 in direct action and a lot more in indirect I am sure) and the club will be the better.

Inclusive and safe and welcoming environment does NOT mean you welcome those that stomp on everyone else. It means you protect people from being stomped on.

I agree with this *so* much.  (Although, as Toots pointed out, it's Jen not Sandy.)

So far, all I can see is that Jen and her feelings and her tantrums are so much more important than the rest of the club put together.

If there really, really isn't a way to kick someone out of this club, then you need to find a way.  Get it written into the rules, get the organisers on board - there are times when the club needs to be protected from toxic people (like Jen) or you'll wind up with a club of *Jen* and no one else.