Home Blog Leadership When an employee cracks up, it is in the boss's interest to lend a hand
30
Mar
2009
When an employee cracks up, it is in the boss's interest to lend a hand

A sign of the times perhaps.  Evidence from a study by Coventry University demonstrates that the recession is increasing the pressure on employees. 62% of people responding had a heavier workload than a year earlier and nearly a third felt they were less in control of their jobs. 

This article tells the story of Ellie, who cracked under the strain.  One of the frightening things is how long it took her to recognise how bad things had got.  The warning signs include:

Physical: weight gain or weight loss; increased susceptibility to colds.

Emotional: unusual mood swings, tearfulness or aggressive outbursts

Cognitive: forgetfulness, loss of concentration and/or more mistakes

Behavioural: reduced eye contact and decreased social interaction.

Fortunately Ellie has recovered and now works with organisations to convince them that stressed, frightened staff are unlikely to generate the new ideas that are needed to ride out the recession.  She says "It's only when leaders make people feel safe that they start to get the outcomes they want.  In this climate, for businesses to survive they have to do something different, and for that to happen their people cannot be in a place of absolute stress."

The article highlights the line manager's responsibility to do something about it, rather than passing the problem to HR.  Tackling the situation head on at an early stage can avoid the situation worsening.  It recognises that this type of conversation is often avoided by line managers, especially when they feel under pressure themselves.  But a discussion may help head off a situation like Ellie's.

Trust between manager and employee suffers when times are tough.  Knowing your employees and having the courage to intervene when you notice they are not themselves can help - and that makes sense to line manager, employee and the business.

 

 

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