What to say when your team-member is overwhelmed

Sometimes our professional life is ‘too much’

Sometimes out personal life is ‘too much’

Sometimes they are both ‘too much’ at the same time.

When someone is overwhelmed they might not know what they need, they might have no idea what would help.

They might ask for support or they might hide.

They might need someone to listen to them very carefully.

They might want practical tools and direction.

Talking is often a brilliant starting point for someone to find the clarity that will move them out of overwhelm.

They might feel exhausted by the merry-go-round of indecision, they might feel frustrated that this isn’t as easy as they thought it would be or angry that they have to do things differently after all.

Exhausted, frustrated and angry are all valid feelings as part of the process and someone may feel a bit battered and bruised or like no one else understands… offer the opportunity for them to talk.  Listen to understand.  Listen very carefully.  Listen to reflect gently back. Listen to gain clarification.

Acknowledge the overwhelm.  Ask your team member if they know what they need or want right now. Action what you can. If they don’t know what they need or want honour that, leave the space and opportunity for further thought and conversation later.

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