A few weeks ago, I got a call from a new client in the throws of severe professional(and personal) stress. He was struggling with his leader and was in a flat spin of emotions and worry over being fired. He could not get “unstuck” to see the whole situation. I helped him take a step back, and he came up with a game plan. He executed that game plan, and it worked out well in his favor. He even managed to have an up skip level review meeting that helped reinforce for him he was on the right track. He called me following his meetings, and sounded like a new person.
I’m not sure how many weeks/months he was in that state, but imagine how much more quickly he could have gotten on track had he asked for support. I’m glad he picked up the phone.
This is an extreme case, but even the highest-functioning professional environments have room for improvement. Often times, the signs are subtle. Know when it is time to step back and ask for help if you recognize any of these signs of “office distress.”
| office distress |: a professional dynamic in which invisible barriers are keeping your team from reaching even the most basic business goals.
1. You’ve taken the “do-it-all” approach. It’s easy to convince yourself that, as a team’s fearless leader, you’re capable of mediating internal conflicts, creating and implementing ideas and picking up the slack when your team isn’t performing. But taking too much under your wing can narrow your thinking, stifle creativity and turn you into a bitter boss.
2. You’re playing the blame game, blindfolded. Identifying your roadblocks without a fresh perspective often leads to the blame game – it’s someone’s fault, but you just haven’t figured it out yet. And when you do, they’re fired—or you are!
3. You’re racking up a list of reasons why. All too often, we push off our long-term ambitions because there are day-to-day boxes to check off. Today isn't a good day to reach our big goals because you've got so many little tasks filling up your inbox. How can you turn the mundane into stepping stones toward your dreams?
Take a step back....and it is ok to ask for help.