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Responding to Employees in Crisis

By: Richard G. Ensman, Jr.
Posted: January 6, 2006, from the January 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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      Release necessary information. Other employees want to know what is going on with their peers. Although you never should reveal highly personal information, news about an illness, a death, or a fire or natural disaster affecting a fellow employee often will bring support from co-workers. Announce the information as soon as possible, conveyed in brief memo form or during a staff meeting, so that everyone hears the same news—but only after you inform your distressed employee of your intentions.

      Keep your emotional distance. Should you demonstrate your commitment to your employee and show support? Of course. But avoid becoming tangled in family or personal issues by offering unsolicited advice or making assurances that you can’t keep. A supportive but objective demeanor on your part is a logical extension of your own role as a leader or manager and can mean the world to a team member in trouble.