February 18, 2015

In the workplace, we need to feel as though there is strong leadership keeping everyone on the same path, but what happens when the leader goes through hard times? A boss may be injured, recently diagnosed with an illness, dealing with a loss or some other major stressor. But while they are going through it, the experience can be disorienting for everyone – especially the person who is supposed to have all the answers.  If you find yourself in a situation similar to this, knowing how to be supportive of your boss can make a real difference for your entire team. Here are some suggestions:

Provide Reassurance

Whatever the situation, your boss is probably feeling uneasy, unsettled and, possibly, even a little insecure. Let them know that you are there for them and that the everything will get done, as it should, even without their usual attention to detail. Sometimes, people just need permission to take some time for themselves.

Bring Positivity

If something is going on to affect the leadership, it usually ends up affecting morale among the ranks. People may feel unmotivated or lack direction. Others may wonder if some drastic change is going to happen and the boss may even wonder if they are going to lose their job. That can cause a lot of negativity in the workplace. Commit to bringing positivity to the situation and refuse to give into the doubts, gossip and uncertainty that may be surrounding you.

Take on More Work

Almost no one wants to work more but if there is a real crisis happening at work, the best thing everyone can do is pitch in with a little extra effort. Hopefully, it will just be temporary and can keep things from piling up. On the upside, moments like this can be great for team building!

Offer Personal Help

If your boss is injured, ask how you can make completing their daily tasks easier. If they are dealing with an illness, offer to accompany them to important doctor’s appointments. In most situations, they may be struggling to even muster the energy to eat or grab groceries. Organize volunteers in the workplace who would be willing to prepare meals that your boss can have ready in their fridge or freezer. Bring extra food for lunch in case they forgot to bring something. You would be amazed by all of the little things that become difficult during a hard time.

Lend an Ear

Often, people like to keep their personal and professional lives separate but there may be times when making an exception is the right thing to do. If your boss is seeming overwhelmed or depressed, offer to be a confidential shoulder to cry on and then keep anything that is said strictly to yourself. Don’t tell your spouse, best friend or anyone. Let them know that they have one person they can turn to if the situation becomes too much to bear alone.

It can be difficult to know how to navigate choppy waters when the captain of the ship is down and out but if you pull together, think of someone other than yourself and stay positive, you will weather the storm.