You may wonder about the best way to offer support when your team is coping with a difficult event. If team members are struggling, it is important to listen and acknowledge their feelings. This will send a strong message of concern and support.
Emotional reactions to a difficult event will vary based on its impact and severity and may change over time. Some members of your team may seem to bounce back quickly. Others may experience more intense emotions, particularly if the event reminds them of a previous traumatic experience. Keep in mind that there is no “right” way to react and no set timeline for recovery.
Common emotional and behavioral reactions to a difficult event may include:
- Shock or numbness
- Withdrawal from others
- Sadness or crying
- Anger, agitation, or irritability
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
- A feeling of helplessness
- Talking more with others
- Workplace performance issues
A compassionate response in the aftermath of a difficult event will let your team know that they are valued by the organization. Helpful steps that you can take include:
- Be present and available. This is a good time to manage by “walking around.” Ask team members how they are doing, listen to their answers, and validate feelings. If you work in a virtual environment, check in via phone call or video conference and offer your support.
- Reach out to HR and other organizational resources. Remind your team about any relevant benefits.
- Practice self-care. Take time to acknowledge your own feelings about the event. Maintain self-care by eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that help you manage stress and build resiliency.
A genuine, caring response to a difficult event will assist in restoring your staff’s emotional wellbeing and help them to heal.