Offer Your Stressed-Out Colleagues
Praise and Assistance
Leadership Tip of week #103
adapted from HBR
You know the stress case — the one who’s always overwhelmed, overstretched, and overextended.
They aren’t easy to work with, but you probably don’t have a choice. Whether you regard your colleague with annoyance or sympathy, you can help them by offering praise and assistance.
Your coworker likely feels out of control, so complimenting their performance can help them form an alternative self-image as a competent, positive professional.
Cite something specific. For instance, you could say, “The way you handled that presentation last week was admirable. You were so calm and collected, and the clients were impressed.”
You can also provide support by asking if there’s anything you can do to help, which might make your stressed-out colleague feel less alone. Don’t over-promise, though. The message should be, “I’m a limited resource, but I want to help you if you are struggling.”
Adapted from “How to Work with Someone Who’s Always Stressed Out,” by Rebecca Knight