DON’T PLAY PSYCHIATRIST
There may be some situations that you’re not equipped to handle: mental illness or substance abuse, for example. In these cases, or in any situation that you’re not comfortable addressing, refer the person to HR or an employee assistance programme. This shouldn’t be your first reaction when you see tears, but you also shouldn’t take on something out of your comfort zone. PAY ATTENTION Don’t wait for a crisis to tune into people’s emotions. Provide opportunities for employees to talk with you about what’s going on in their lives. You might set aside a few minutes at the end of one-on-one meetings. Kreamer suggests asking questions like, “Are there any issues on the horizon that might affect you? Let’s put them on the table and see what we can do about them.” This gives employees permission to open up. “Often employees are frightened to ask for help because they feel they’re risking their value to the organisation,” she says. Sanchez-Burks’ research shows that being attuned to your employees not only makes you more human, it makes you a better leader, too.
PRINCIPLES TO REMEMBER