The majority of us encounter unexpected bumps in the road throughout our lives: illness, conflict, death, fiscal demands. Life’s unpredictable diversity can leave us feeling emotionally cornered at times, and desperate for a helping hand. Recognizing that you need the assistance of others– let alone finding it – can be a daunting experience in itself.

One thing social media has taught us here at Global Learning is that our communities are exploding with people and organizations that have made it their mission to assist those in need. Whatever that need may be, whenever that assistance is needed. Everything from self-help groups to demographical associations to advocacy organizations; everyone now has a place to turn.

Emotionally overwhelming experiences have a high potential to leave anyone distracted or even volatile while at work.

Every sharp leader has a keen eye on the emotional state of their team members. If you are ignoring how emotional intelligence as a leader can be the key to innovation, then you have missed the boat. Hopefully you can row yourself along to catch up, without damaging too many people along your leadership way.

In times of need, varying the ways you choose to ‘be there’ for your team members as a leader or manager is imperative to the development of your corporate and organizational culture.

How do you care?

I advocate absolutely for creating “in-house” resources for your employees. I encourage you, however, to also think beyond the scope of your organization for a variety of reasons, as there are many benefits to encouraging your team to connect with community-driven initiatives.

First and foremost, you are leading your team member to guidance that they require and that you may not be equipped to give.

It’s great to say “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” But it’s even greater to say “Here is what I can do for you.”

Not all employees wish to reach out to “in-house” resource groups. Sharing personal situations with co-workers or superiors may not be comfortable for everyone. Even if the fear is unfounded, some won’t reach out to their employer or employee resource group in a time of need simply because they believe it may have a negative effect on their job or potential career path.

Offering your team access to additional services is a way to encourage a person to see that they have options; that perhaps they aren’t backed into the emotional corner they are feeling.

Community outreach is becoming imperative to corporate success. We often view community outreach as what can I do for the community. Building and curating a running resource of community groups and initiatives is a great way to collaborate with the community. It offers more chances for inclusion, as well as creating a brand advocacy pipeline to a wide range of diverse demographics.

By connecting your team to the community, you are also connecting the community to your team.

Employees that know you care tell the community that you care; a community which, in turn, will utilize your services because of your accountability and credibility.

If creating such a resource list for your team interests you, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to make it clear that you are not endorsing these organizations, only mentioning their existence for your teams to further research themselves and on their own time.
  • Avoid including organizations that practice discrimination.
  • If including faith-based organizations, include groups of all relevant denominations.
  • Make the team feel welcome to offer suggestions to add to the list.
  • Offer assistance in finding an additional community group for your team member should they not find one on your list.
  • Twitter is a fantastic source to locate untapped local resources.

It may take some time and effort, but the rewards are vast in understanding the benefits to all when introducing your team to the broad community resources available.

“I just might have a problem that you’ll understand. We all need somebody to lean on.” Lean on Me by Billy Withers

about the author - Elaine

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