About a year ago my boss was fired, and I was put in his place as a new manager. Our team was already understaffed, so I ended up doing several jobs, including team lead, project lead and PM for a big project, and admin work. I begged my boss to hire a PM to help me with admin tasks and PM work on the big project.
Finally, "Jane" was hired to do that job. She interviewed extremely well, appeared smart, capable, and confident in her skills, and had relevant experience. Jane was reporting to my boss, but was assigned full-time to help me.
Since Jane was new, and we were in the middle of a busy delivery, I wanted her to focus on the admin tasks first.
I started noticing that Jane was not very good with follow-through. Among the things I noticed are that she wouldn't proactively update me on the status of a task, lack of sense of urgency, missing emails and notes, and other "basic" things (like searching her inbox for an email, etc).
The effect that it had that I had to constantly follow up and micromanage her to ensure that things stayed on track.
I have given her feedback that I really wanted her to "own" those tasks, and see them through to the end. That I wanted her to over-communicate status to me. I pointed out mistakes and asked her to pay more attention. She would either brush my comments off or get offended that I'm nit-picking: "everyone makes mistakes, even you".
At the same time, like I said, we were in the middle of a massive delivery and were understaffed, so our team had to work overtime for some months. Several colleagues pulled OT, but not Jane. Some weeks she didn't even put in the full 40 hours.
Over this entire time, I have been communicating with my boss. I would show him examples of issues and ask him how I should handle them. After about 6 month of this, my boss said that we've been having issues long enough, and decided to transfer Jane to report to his subordinate, where she would get more training, and transition her to work on other projects. He assured me that her position in the company wasn't in danger.
The transition happened a few months ago while I was traveling, so I don't know what Jane's initial reaction was. But I haven't heard from her much after that, except for being in the same meetings occasionally.
But a couple of days ago, she contacted me over IM, and started asking why I was so critical of her and how it was unfair of me to give all this negative feedback to her boss, and how "I didn't think about how that would affect her career, confidence, and emotional state". She also insisted that I am personally biased against her.
I explained to her that it's not personal, and that my feedback was directly based on my experience working with her. She demanded examples. I gave her a couple of examples, which she "refuted" according to her - basically offered excuses, or insisted that I was wrong. But even if I wasn't wrong, those were just minor mistakes and they're no big deal, and that I need to either find better examples or reassess my bias and why I'm being so critical of her.
After having a think about it yesterday, I went back through our IM history, and pulled several more examples of different issues. I explained that while each individual mistake can be small and insignificant, the collection of those mistakes created a pattern, and caused me to spend more time and mental energy on things that she should have been taking care of as part of her job.
She responded with the same thing: mistakes are no big deal, and everyone makes them, even me. And also that she was new and was still learning the job, and that those mistakes happened during crunch, and she was busy (which, like I said, she put zero overtime hours during crunch).
She also told me how I'm the most critical person she has ever worked with, and how she "expected praise for all the hard, big, complicated work that she's done", but all she got was unfair criticism.
The thing is, after all this, she made me feel quite guilty, and made me second-guess how I handled this. But I also don't know what I could have done differently. I was in an impossible situation, and needed help, with a person who was not giving me the help I desperately needed.
Am I being overly critical and unfair to Jane or is she being overly sensitive and entitled? I'm really having a hard time seeing her side of the story, but if you do, maybe you can help me understand?