Initiating the conversation

Here are some guidelines to help you have a successful conversation with one of your staff members.

  • Ask the individual if it’s a good time to check in with them.

  • Be thoughtful and motivated by genuine concern.

  • You don’t have to have all of the answers. Remember: it is not your job to fix their problems.    

  • Say what feels comfortable.

  • Don’t make assumptions about what you think might be happening for your staff member. Approach your concern as a workplace issue, e.g., “I’ve noticed that you seem distracted while at work recently” or “I’ve noticed that you have arrived late for work several times over the last month.”

  • Mention specifically what you have observed, e.g., “You look sad and I’ve noticed you crying a few times.”

  • Let them know they do not need to share all details. Ask them to share what is comfortable for them.

  • Let them know you care about them and that you are concerned about them.

  • Provide them with information about confidentiality/limits of confidentiality.

  • Reassure them that you are going to respect their privacy.

  • Be prepared for denial.

  • Ask if you can follow up with them at a later date.

If you haven’t already done so, consider taking the ”Clear Leadership” course, offered through PHC. It teaches some helpful principles for handling these types of conversations and situations. For more information on Clear Leadership go to the LearningHub and enter ‘clear leadership’ into the search button.


Last updated Thu, Sep 21, 2017