By creating a safe space for open communication, employees are more likely to share their struggles.
“Asking that question offers them an opportunity to share what’s going on with them,” she said. “Just giving people permission to feel their feelings in the workplace can prevent issues from escalating into severe problems.”
Foster openness: The power of storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool for leaders to create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their struggles, and emphasizes the importance of vulnerability in leadership — especially during challenging times such as reorganizations or shifts in priorities.
“It’s okay to express emotion. It’s been a challenging couple of years. It is absolutely normal for people to feel exhausted, overwhelmed, yanked around,” Fosslien said.
Leaders should acknowledge the emotional challenges and provide avenues for employees to voice their concerns, she said; by normalizing these emotions and sharing personal experiences, leaders can alleviate feelings of isolation and promote open dialogue.