by Meera Raghunandan
3 minutes read
Meena was returning to work after a maternity break of 5 months. She was overwhelmed with different emotions. She felt extremely guilty about leaving her child behind in the day-care centre while also feeling very insecure that the child seemed to be getting closer to the care-giver. However, Meena was a highly career-oriented professional and needed to get ahead in her career.
At work, she suddenly found herself feeling inadequate and out-of-place, owing to the break she had taken. She found out that a male colleague who reported into her, was offered an opportunity to travel abroad whereas she, who was more capable at her job, could not because of her baby.
Kumar was a soft-spoken young man who worked for a very dominating boss. The boss continuously dumped work on him that no one else wanted to do. Unable to be assertive; he felt cornered into accepting every task thrown at him by his boss. Each evening, he went home to his family feeling very stressed-out. When his son refused to listen to him, he resorted to beatings. He was a bully at home, but he was completely bullied at work.
C’est la vie
Each of these people were dealing with situations that would often be very stressful to them. Their thoughts, feelings and emotions were very negative and hence their resulting actions were very negative too. Since they were unable to deal with their emotions, their actions would usually be ranging from cribbing about the organization, to back-biting about the boss and spreading negativity. This would lead to transference of stress to a helpless family member and in some extreme situations may also result in suicide as well.
Harder than it looksMeena decided to talk to her boss about the issues she was going through. As soon as she started to talk about her problems, her boss immediately replied: “Meena, there are only 2 ways out. One – you quit and focus on your house, two – use all the support possible to take care of the baby, and focus on work.” But Meena was unable to deal with this solution-mode that the boss was getting into. Neither did she feel he had heard her out, nor did she feel understood and respected. She was simply upset that he was giving her solutions in a manner as though she did not have the capability to come out with the solutions. Her feelings were apparent in her face, and this left her boss wondering what he had done wrong. After all, he was simply telling her the best possible things to do.
Chander was supposed to work with a senior team member, who was to mentor him. Chander tried to confide in his senior, just as Meena had tried to confide in him. The senior though was responsible for providing all the input to the organization on the performance and progress of Chander. Hence, he was mentally wearing the organization-hat and could not step into the role of a friend and understand Chander’s struggles from a more neutral point of view.
On the other side of their shared apartment wall, Kumar was struggling with intensifying family issues, as his son was starting to turn more rebellious each day. He had constant arguments with his wife. At work, his boss treated him worse than a door-mat. He was apprehensive about discussing his issues with his friends in office as he was not sure whether he would become the focus of office gossip and jokes. He did not have close friends outside of work and had no one to turn to.
There is always hope
Each of these people were unable to give their best at work, as they were all in situations that drained them of their peace of mind and hence their productivity was negatively affected.
Meena’s boss and Kumar’s mentor are not equipped with formal counselling or coaching skills to help them deal with these stressful situations. Workplace conflicts, team dynamics, personal issues, personality challenges - in all of these situations, it would have been a great help for the employees to turn to a workplace coach or mentor to discuss the issues that they are dealing with.
It would be ideal if the workplace coach is a neutral person who is unconnected to the organization. The coach’s focus is then devoted completely to the employee and his or her well-being. This has a huge direct benefit for the employee and an indirect benefit for the organization as the employee is able to better manage the situation, move past it and give his or her best back to the organization.
Isn’t this what is called a win-win situation?
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Meera Raghunandan is the co-founder of Mentoring Matters, a platform for businesses and
individuals across industries to drive holistic professional growth across mid and senior-level
positions through dedicated coaching by certified professionals.