Everybody has bad days but sometimes we have bad weeks or months. These “seasons of crisis” can can be devastating to team moral and the achievement of goals. Many times as leaders we want to take a militaristic, “leave your problems at the door” approach, which has rapidly decreasing results as the crisis continues.
I remember when my son was dying of cancer and I was on the road six days out of the week, in one of the most thought intensive positions that I have ever held. My crisis was long and nobody in the company could relate; though, I tried my best to communicate the issues. Ultimately, they gave me the “buck up and do your job” attitude; which, led to my resignation.
As with most seasons of personal disaster, be it death, divorce, bankruptcy or a host of other major stressors, they do pass. As a leader you have to determine, whether or not you are willing, and financially able, to endure the crisis with your employee. Some times you may find that these are not seasons at all. For some employees these may be self induced chronic problems that reoccur over and over in different disguises.
Here are some steps to consider:
#1. As always empathize… try dealing with the issue as though you were going through the crisis yourself. For a moment let go of the goals and stop thinking about the bottom line, just be another human (show some compassion).
#2. Keep your radar up. Listen closely for repeated stories or excuses that may reveal a deeper problem or addiction that could be at the root of the problem.
#3. Be honest with yourself. What is the worst case scenario for the resolution time frame? What are all of the possible repercussions of having half an employee (or less at times)? Can you really afford to help?
#4. If you want to retain the employee get creative. Have a frank discussion and find alternative work that better suits their impaired abilities during the resolution time frame. Sometimes a temporary lay-off is best for everyone.
Most of all remember to treat them as you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes. If you have specific questions about an employee crisis and would like a little “outside of the emotion” advice, we can set up a time to talk. If you are not already a client, please take the time to register and use the ASK US NOW link to set up an appointment.