As the manager of a medical office, you may not know what to expect every day, but one thing you can eventually anticipate is dealing with an employee going through a crisis. Helping your employees through a difficult personal issue may seem simple; you’re a great listener, you give sage advice, you’re sympathetic and supportive. This should be easy! Unfortunately, there’s more to it than that, and if not handled properly, what started out as a personal crisis could transform into a professional disaster. Here are a few tips to help you guide your employees through a crisis while maintaining professional relationships.
Don’t forget: you are a manager, not a friend. This is probably the hardest part of handling an employee crisis, and definitely the most important. If boundaries aren’t established right away, the line between boss and confidante can quickly become blurred. But as a manager, your job is to enable your employees to address their personal issues as easily as possible while still maintaining stability for your staff. You can be a support system for your team without being a therapist.
Assist in establishing a plan.
Your employee might need a few days to regroup. Or, after some discussion, you may realize that they require a long-term plan. Sit down with the employee and determine how much time will be needed to truly manage this crisis. Discuss his or her options and ensure everyone is aware and of and that it’s ok to use the resources available to them. Can they take paid leave, can they work from home, are there in-office counseling services? Once you have established a timeframe, assess workloads and make sure the assignments are realistic for the time being taken off. Be direct and clear in your discussions, make sure any expectations upon return are clear, so that there’s no confusion.
Communicate and be open.
Even though you can’t share every detail of the situation, providing your team with some information in a professional manner will reduce speculation and slow down the rumor mill. You can be open honest with your staff, while also using discretion to protect your employee. Remember not to withdraw, and be sure to allow people to ask questions and share any concerns. When unexpected situations occur, things will change quickly. The one thing we can control is the flow of information.
This small act will go a long way in letting your employee know he or she is supported. Periodically check in with your employee by asking how things are going or sending a quick email. Being mindful of an employee’s personal situation after the event has passed does a lot for personal and team morale.
Creating an atmosphere of empathy and professionalism isn’t always easy. But keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to helping employees through a difficult time.Posted by