Ways To Show Support At Work
Most of us find it difficult to ask for help - whether it's embarrassment at how it will be perceived or over-estimating our own abilities to go it alone. Because of this, it's often the case that we're also rarely asked for help. Whilst offering unsolicited advice willy nilly isn't the best way to show support, there are other ways to let your colleagues know you've got their back.
No matter if it's a colleague, a loved one, or a stranger on the street, listening and being listened to are small but powerful actions that can have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on an individual. Feeling misunderstood, isolated, and unheard have negative effects on mental wellbeing, self-worth, and self-esteem, and by offering someone a moment to speak is a simple but powerful first step in showing support.
We're all very eager to say the first thing that comes to our head when we're asked for advice, but taking time to really hear someone's concerns will help illuminate the root of their problem, not what you think it might be. Understand what's causing their stress, whether it's workload, relationships, or something completely unrelated to work, you'll be able to work through it better.
Empty words are easy to find when someone offloads their worries. Saying 'it'll be fine' or 'don't worry about it' are probably things they've already told themselves, so finding a more practical way to approach their problem will not only brighten their outlook, but demonstrate your own leadership and problem-solving skills.
Drawing a line works both ways; if someone clearly doesn't want to let you in, don't push them - but equally getting too involved with someone else's problems isn't healthy either. Make sure that there are clear boundaries to the limits of your help, and if the issue really is that big - then perhaps it's time to take it to management.
Sometimes what you can offer others won't be enough, no matter how hard you try or how good your intentions. If you see a colleague in distress with no straightforward means to help them, the best thing you can do to support them is to encourage them to speak to your HR department.