What to do with an employee or friend who is STUCK?
Do you have a friend or loved one who is stuck in a dead-end relationship, in a horrible job or living a life far beneath their potential?
You wish this person would just wake-up, realize that they have the power to change their life, and then start living a much better one. Sometimes we can clearly see the potential in our mate, co-worker or friend, and we want the life that we envision for them to be realized, but they just cannot seem to get un-stuck. If only they would listen and let us help them, we could share our ideas on how they could easily get un-stuck!
But there is one important criterion when it comes to helping others get un-stuck. The person has to ask for your help.
Complaining and whining to you is not asking for help—it is actually creating a sense of release for the complainer while nothing at all changes or gets accomplished. Being miserable and getting into trouble and having repercussions from being stuck—and complaining about the repercussions—is not asking for help, either. Your friend or loved one has to ask you for your help—otherwise, you are in a position of wanting the new life for them more than they want for themselves…and guess who does all the work in that scenario? You got it: you.
As frustrating as it is to watch loved ones, or employees, standing a few (seemingly simple) behavioral changes away from success, it’s futile to impose your beliefs and ideas and resources on them without being asked. If the relationship is personal you have a better chance of harming the relationship by trying to help them than if you do nothing and if it professional you are likely pouring your own energy into an investment that will not pay off.
Here’s what you can do:
Try to accept them where they are—as they are.
As hard as it may be, this is very important. Acceptance is a powerful gift and it might do more for your relationship with the person than you trying to change them—even if they absolutely need to change. As a boss, once you have reached acceptance you will be better at making objective decisions about how to handle this person.
If you are sick to death of hearing about your sister’s horrible marriage, then find a moment to tell your sister that you love her and promise to support her decision to stay in the marriage but that you prefer not to hear any more complaints about it. And then gently remind her if it comes up again. Taking care of yourself in this way will help you feel better and will set a good example at the same time.
Perhaps by turning your focus away from worrying and wanting change for your friend or employee, you will find the time to read a book, take a class or focus on your co-workers that are not stuck or sabotaging their careers. And then maybe, when you are not looking…the stuck person will change too. Or they might not.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward
Coaching assignment: Think of a time in your life when someone was trying to help you but you did not want the help they were offering. What were the circumstances? What was the person missing or not seeing about your situation?