“A member of my team has personal issues and this is affecting their productivity. How do I respond to this sympathetically?”
The Mediator…Alex Efthymiades, Director, Consensio
This is an issue that a lot of managers have to deal with on an ongoing basis. The key here is to communicate openly and honestly with your employee. Rather than ignoring the issue, it needs to be addressed with empathy in a private and confidential setting where both you and your employee feel comfortable speaking about it.
Ask your employee how they are and allow them to tell you what is going on for them personally, if they are comfortable disclosing this. Listen to them in a non-judgemental way and give them your full attention. It is important for your employee to know that you care about their wellbeing and they may welcome the opportunity to speak with you about what is going on for them.
Remember that it is acceptable for you to tell your employee that you have noticed a drop in their productivity. Allow them to respond to this. They may not be aware that you noticed, they may not be aware that their productivity has been affected, or they may have wanted to address this with you anyway.
Ask the employee what you and/or the team can do to support them, making it clear that you are there to help and that the issue relating to productivity needs to be resolved. Rather than imposing a solution on your employee, ask them what they can do to ensure that they are able to work effectively and productively as part of the team.
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