5 Ways to Get Unstuck at Work

From mid‐March of 2020 through mid‐ October, I have presented virtually at 27 events. The bonus for me is that I always learn from the attendees as my presentations often lend themselves to spirited Q&A and comments.

It appears that we’re doing okay. We’re hanging in there. And, we’re also stuck. From a professional standpoint, it is too many Zoom meetings. Not enough clarity and communication on the “big picture” as it pertains to your job and the company’s direction from the C‐Level. Employees are feeling stuck. That’s what I’m hearing. Tired, burned out, working more than ever.

Staff has to make it through these challenging times just like the rest of us. However, being stuck covers every position and every level at your organization. Recognizing this and being proactive has multiple benefits. Here’s just one example.

I spoke at a large HR conference a few weeks ago and received feedback from a VP of Human Resources. Let’s call her Denise.

Denise is successful, makes some coin and appears to have a secure job. She also has two great kids, and a wonderful hubby that works from home due to COVID-19. Yet, she feels trapped, immobilized and stuck professionally. Our private conversation consisted of me listening, Denise sharing and the two of us coming up with a plan to help her get unstuck. Here is just part of what I suggested she consider. To her credit, she did them all!

1. Let your middle-school aged kids know a bit about what you’re going through. One or both will get it to some degree. Education for them and transparency for you. Their mom is human.

2. Regular check-ins with your husband so you can vent, listen and connect.

3. I wanted to discuss work AFTER we made sure home was taking care of . Denise shared that while she’s used to juggling so many things on a daily basis, her ability to be effective had diminished because she was being pulled in 27 directions. Okay, Denise said 100 different directions and admitted she might be over-estimating.

4. CEO chat. We decided that talking with the CEO was a good move. And, he needed to know that his VP of HR was stuck and feeling that her ability to navigate more than the usual day’s events was being impeded by extra legal affairs of employees, more personal requests and the massive shift in working that the pandemic brought on.

5. It turned out that Mr. CEO was dealing with much of the same, other duties as well and felt a bit stuck himself. They had a good conversation.

The solution.

Being open and vulnerable was not easy, but it worked. Both agreed to weekly check-ins, to share what was working and what needed attention, plus a change in corporate policy directing all management to have a conversation weekly with all staff that they manage. Listening being the key. The goal was to focus more on people, believing that business growth would follow. Plus, it appears they’re bringing me in (virtually) to speak with their leadership team. Cool!

Today, there is no time for coasting at work‐ phoning it in. Folks are stuck. They need someone to listen to their concerns, act on them if possible and assure them that they are not alone. We need to grow our individual relationships at work during a time we’re being asked to distance from one another. Not easy, but certainly doable.

My most recent conversation with Denise was good. She shared that one of her feet is no longer stuck and her mental and emotional state has improved. That’s a good thing and a step in the right direction. Sorry, had to.

What is holding you back at your job? Are you stuck? What are you willing to do to get un‐stuck?

Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to chat. Many folks do.