Summary: Know when to help a coworker cope using the STOP approach, with support from your intranet.
Being a CEO and parent of three kids under the age of five, I’ve learned a lot about human development and the psychology behind connection over the last few years. Recently, I came across the HALT method for approaching tantrums with children, designed to help you identify root causes and tips to approach things: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. It’s simple and intuitive that well-nourished, emotionally level, connected and rested kids will excel, and the same holds true for employees.
However, this goes without saying, your adult coworker should not be treated like a child. Perhaps it would be easier if we were as transparent that something was wrong by rolling on the ground, yelling, or stomping our feet. Ok, maybe not. Surely there are similar triggers for undesirable behavior, so how about an easy acronym for the workplace, know when to STOP and help others, using your intranet as a support.
Does your teammate appear exhausted? Staff who have been putting in lots of extra time and taking on more than usual might be feeling stretched. If you use your intranet to manage processes, particularly HR-related activities, you might find indicators here. Time-sheets are an example that come to mind. Look for upwards trends in work hours or comments that show they might be overloaded. Perhaps you need to shift some responsibility. It’s summer, could be they just need a vacation to recharge? Use your intranet to make vacation requests and approval simple.
Are employees unexpectedly lashing out at their peers? In staff meetings, it’s often easiest to witness this. Encourage your team to practice gratitude. The best way here is in recurring meetings, but your intranet can help. Implement an Employee Recognition feed and get your staff patting each other on the back for all the good stuff that’s pushing the company forward. Even better, coordinate a team-building event and match up those who could benefit from knowing each other more personally. Remember to share photos!
Does your employee feel out of the loop? It’s so important to effectively share information, build communication rhythms and reinforce your culture. To start, you should publish your organizational purpose and values on your intranet, and find ways to reflect on them regularly. Leadership blogging is a good tool for this. Your employees are core to your business, have fun with their profiles, getting them to share their story, passions and motivation.
Are employees hesitant to share or entirely silent? We all have moments where we hold back, particularly in group settings. While it’s important to actively listen and process before responding, what hurts is when staff don’t share ideas, raise issues, request help, or commit to action. Of course you should get feedback in person when possible, but a suggestion box might be a tool to give them a voice.
I find it incredible how honest, transparent and direct kids can be. There’s so much to learn from them. Just this morning as I dropped my five-year-old off for daycare, we talked about what to do when we get angry. He said “take six deep breathes”. In the end, the best way to help coworkers is be empathetic, build connections and earn their trust; really stop and take the time to show you care. Hopefully I’ve given you a framework here to draw on, or at the very least an idea as simple as pausing and breathing. Try something out, I’d love to hear how it goes!
What are some strategies for helping colleagues cope that you have found effective? Share with me in the comments section below.