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How well do you handle an unexpected personal crisis at work?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 220,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well do you handle an unexpected personal crisis at work?

  • Very well. I deal with the issue productively and can resume work effectively: 33.3%
  • Well. I deal with the issue but it has some negative work effects: 51.9%
  • Not well. Personal crises tend to throw my work off substantially: 12.3%
  • Poorly. A personal crisis totally derails me at work: 2.5%

Moving through the crisis. It’s inevitable that a personal crisis will interfere with work at some point. Illnesses, car accidents, thefts and other challenging issues are bound to crop up and always at the worst time. Some keys to dealing with crisis involve keeping things in perspective, getting your priorities straight and getting assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues for help. We’ve all been there, and, by and large, people are understanding and supportive. There’s no need for you to shoulder the entire burden yourself. And when you see a colleague in crisis, don’t wait for them to ask for help. They may be too overwhelmed or feel like they’re imposing on others. Offer your help proactively instead.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”