An acquaintance of mine works for a large public institution. She recently told me how difficult team work has become due to an oversensitive colleague. In fact, the situation in her team has become so unbearable, that after a vacation she had lost all motivation to return to her job. All attempts so far to resolve the situation have failed, because the person in question refuses to talk. This is a good example, I think, for how important it is for a team to function as a „system“, a social organism, in order to work productively.
What should be done?
Together we reflected on what should be done to ease this difficult situation. We figured out that restructuring the team’s physical workplaces would bring some relief. In my view, the team leader, a woman, should assume responsibility to improve the situation. However, she needs to prevent a situation where the oversensitive colleague is labeled „the problem“ and ostracized. I would advise the team leader to consult with all relevant actors and then draw up a concrete plan for what to do, asking management for support if necessary.