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2 sympathy traps to avoid

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Many employees experience problems outside the workplace that affect their on-the-job performance. While you want to help a staffer, keep the following warnings in mind when offering your assistance:

Don’t promise confidentiality before an employee shares information with you. Beware of employees who say “I have something to tell you, but you have to promise you won’t tell anyone.” Strategy: Don’t let the employee back you into a corner. Say: “If this is something personal, I’ll keep it to myself. But if this affects me, other employees, other departments or the organization, I can’t guarantee I’ll keep it secret.”
Don’t commiserate. Often, managers try to empathize by relating a similar experience. But that can blow up in your face. Example: An employee could say “You know how difficult this is for me—just like when you went through it.” Strategy: Offer support, rather than a shoulder to cry on. Say: “Other parts of your life may be going badly, but I’ll help you continue to do your job well. Here’s what I expect from you ...”

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