How would you handle this situation at work?
We are finding that leadership training can become too theoretical in nature. We go into a classroom, learn the models, perhaps see a few examples, and then go back to a workplace in which not everyone is in training. When you’re under pressure in a real-world environment, it’s difficult to remember the models you’ve learned and not react like you normally would.
For that reason, we are training leaders in our programs based on the challenges they are facing in their workplaces right now. We’re finding that leaders quickly problem solve using new tools they’ve learned in Cortex’s servant leadership programs as soon as the connection between the communication challenges in their workplace and what they are learning in the classroom.
With that in mind, here’s a scenario for you to consider. It will help you decide what tools you’ve mastered in our leadership program or others that would help solve this situation.
Here’s the work scenario:
You work on a team with 7 great people. They are hard working and have high standards. Everyone seems to look forward to coming to work every day. Lately, though your boss, seems to be experiencing high levels of stress. He’s usually a pretty good guy who is supportive and can even be inspiring. Right now, though, he seems anxious and has a quick temper. He’s mentioned how exhausted he is from a tough work schedule this year. The real problem is that it’s hard to interact with him because he’s emotionally inconsistent. He has also said some things to team members that you are sure he will eventually regret. The person everyone looks to that usually leads them appears to need some support himself.
Here are a few of the best responses we received from reader’s:
“I would ask for a coffee or lunch meeting off-site, away from the office. The fact that the boss is such a supportive and inspiring guy indicates he cares about his team and fostering positive relationships. Appeal to that and let him know how much the team has always appreciated his positive and encouraging support. Ask if he is aware that there are some hurt feelings and let him know that the team is concerned about him. Offer to brainstorm with him ways that the team can be more supportive of him, or that certain responsibilities could be delegated differently in order to relieve some of his pressure.
For the boss’ part, it would be prudent to follow it up with a team meeting and be honest about his fatigue, apologize for hurtful words and actions, thank the team for their hard work and support, and then bring them in on any action plan that may have arisen from the brainstorming and ask their input as well.”
Chief Development Officer
“Right would look like my boss getting feedback and being able to become more self-aware of how he is showing up….maybe even recognize it for himself. I would go look at his DISC style to see his Style and Motivators- while not the end all be all- it would help me understand more about him and how he wants to be approached, or not be approached as issues arise. Then, I would have to have a sweaty conversation with him and talk through what is really going on.
I would try to understand from his perspective what’s changed and offer insights that I am seeing myself (because I care and want him to be successful). What I think my boss should do- is to seek a thinking partner/ coach that he can trust to help navigate the issues and find solutions so he can get back to leading and inspiring our team.”
Emily Smith, PHR, SHRM-CP
Human Resource Manager
“I would steer work-related items into quality-of-life items in conversation with the leader. They may coincide, however everyone needs some time away to decompress and remember the big picture of life. To help others and to boost morale, within the workplace, is not only a leadership trait; instead it is a trait of the entire workforce.
When others are down, and out of character, we should always look for areas of common ground to relate to in human terms and understanding from what we believe to be their perspective. In the context of work, try to be a friend.”