Responding to Coworkers

Updated: May 23

In early childhood education, it’s inevitable to come across a colleague having a tough time. Everyone has bad days or faces situations that are challenging, frustrating or downright impossible. As a leader and coworker, our response can affect how our colleagues recoup. Supporting a coworker in a hot moment doesn’t require a social work degree; remembering a few simple things can make a world of difference: Listen: acknowledge your colleague and listen to what they have to say. Focus on what they are truly saying. Resist the urge to speak, and hold a warm, inviting space of presence and safety for your colleague to express themselves openly. Validate the feeling: Validate the feeling that your colleague may be experiencing. “That sounds really tough.” “It sounds like you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed” Tip: Try to remain open, understanding and non-judgmental here. Ask: Ask your colleague what they need. Avoid giving advice, or sharing your stories unless your colleague asks for it. If you have a great insight that you want to share- ask permission to share! “Can I share what works for me in situations like this?” In these conversations, we often want to go into “fixing” mode- giving suggestions, sharing our own stories or even minimizing what someone might facing. Oftentimes, when someone is having a tough day, all they truly want is to be listened to and heard. By following these three simple steps, you will be responding and holding space for colleagues like a pro!

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