People have concerns. These concerns make their way each and every day into the workplace. Where it takes little more than a deep sigh, a long pause, an over-the-bifocals look or a quick reaction for some people to know that they may have missed the mark on an expectation, it also takes little more than a tip of the head, a concerned look, a simple "how are you" for a person's resolve to break away when they are concerned about something.
And, at times, people overestimate their resolve. What's a good leader to do? Listen. Talk to them. Allow them to be human. Provide them EAP information, time off, a quiet office or whatever they need at that moment. That's easy. Now, what if it is a leader? What if it is you?
Here's the deal. A few weeks ago, I was worried about my kid. After 7 years, I am seeing that this is just part of being a parent and often go to work with concerns on my mind. In this instance, I either underestimated my depth of my concern or overestimated the distraction work would provide. Nonetheless, 3 simple inquires into "how ya doing" on behalf of my staff ended with 3 conversations.
In hindsight, I probably should not have gone to work. And I can't stop thinking about it. I am thinking about the distraction I may have been that day. I am thinking about leaders bringing their problems into the work place. I am thinking about setting an example (or not). The thoughts just keep hanging around and they really need to go, so, I am writing. I am writing to get them on the page and out of my head. What's done is done.
People probably should leave their problems in the parking lot when they come to work but, really, they always can't.