It's sad enough when an employee becomes seriously ill. What makes it tougher is that work doesn't stop. Deadlines remain, customers need service and paperwork piles up.

That means you must deal with two major management challenges at once: understanding and appreciating the emotions of the employee and other co-workers, while making sure that the necessary work gets done. Responding to these challenges requires tact, sensitivity and flexibility.

Mistakes can mean not only hurt feelings, but potentially legal liability problems, too. The key is balance: You must consider the sick employee's needs and wishes while devising strategies to maintain the work routine.

First priority: Provide support

When employees tell you that they're seriously ill, your immediate response should be to provide support. Express your overriding concern about the person's well-being.

Resist the urge to dispense advice. Don't play doctor or offer pr...(register to read more)

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