Sticky Solutions

Sticky solutions to your everyday business challenges


Question: As an HR Director of a 240-person company, I want to help our managers and supervisors be available for their team members who are going through disruptions in their lives these days. From learning that a loved one has Covid, to living a with partner who’s been laid off since last summer, to dealing with the general pandemic-related anxiety, our employees need support from their managers to get through these times. Can you recommend some tools to help our managers and supervisors be on their A-games through these seemingly endless days of disruption?

Answer: The world is going through the only time in recent history that there has been a collective mass disruption. Bruce Feiler, author of Life is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, suggests that disruptors that become disorienting and destabilizing are called “lifequakes”. The pandemic is one giant lifequake we are all experiencing together. To help, Feiler offers three tips for how to guide employees through the turbulence.

Tip 1: Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected
When an employee is experiencing a transition, they need someone with a “you will get through this” mentality. Feiler suggests watching for the three phases of change:

  1. the long goodbye in which you mourn the old you
  2. the messy middle in which you shed habits and create new ones
  3. the new beginning in which you unveil your fresh self

Tune into which phase your employee is in and be available to guide them through the waves.

Tip 2: Share Stories
Research has shown that stories are impactful and help us relate to each other. Encourage team members to communicate about the impact of the transition on their lives. Vulnerability, especially when modeled by the leader, can help employees feel safe to speak up about what they need.

Tip 3: Reassure the Team
Leaders should communicate that everyone needs adjustments and accommodations during the transition period and that it isn’t a threat to their jobs to ask for help. Typical work boundaries can be a little softer right now as mental wellness is of utmost importance.

Finally, try reflecting on this question, courtesy of Ron Carucci, author of Rising to Power: “A year from now, if someone asks how living through COVID-19 changed me for the better, how do I want to answer?” You get to decide how this shapes how you show up for your team each day.


Do you have a sticky solution question? Send your question to 



Share This