Many of us work from nine to five, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. You may have friends in the office, you may meet your spouse for lunch, or you may take the occasional personal call during the work day. But for the most part, you probably keep your work and home lives fairly separate. But what happens if you have a personal crisis? What if you or a loved one becomes seriously ill? What if you begin to have marriage problems or financial difficulties? How can you stay focused and maintain your personal effectiveness in a time of crisis so that you can keep your paychecks rolling in and keep your career on track?
Personal Effectiveness in Crisis
1. Confide in Others
No man is an island, and one of the best ways to maintain professionalism in the workplace during a time of crisis is to have a few allies who have some idea of what is going on and can offer a listening ear if needed. Indeed, your personal effectiveness is less likely to suffer in a crisis if you don’t keep all of your problems bottled up inside.
2. Ask for Help
Even if you don’t want many people to know your whole situation, it is a good idea to let your supervisor and your colleagues know that you’re going through a tough time and might need a little help managing your usual workload. Some people can pour themselves into their work and get a lot done during times of crisis. Others operate at maximum personal effectiveness with a slightly lighter load in a crisis.
3. Make a Change
You may decide that in order to maintain professionalism in the workplace, you need to shift your normal work hours or perhaps even work from home or another alternative location for a short time while you get a handle on your health or other personal crisis. Ask your supervisor to grant you the flexibility you need to weather this storm and come out ahead.
4. Take Time Off
If you just can’t focus on doing your job well right now, you may find that it is better to take some time off to get back on track so that you can return to work fresh and ready to operate at your maximum personal effectiveness. Use your sick leave or personal leave, or see if you are eligible for a longer amount of time off through the Family Medical Leave Act. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or time off – it is a sign of strength!
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