Are You Worried?


Increased Vulnerability + Decreased Power = Increased Worry

That’s from our Company On-line Training on Stress Management.

There is one question that made me think but can’t ask on-line so I’m sharing it with you.

The question is: Which of the following is NOT an effective response to a colleague who tells you he’s extremely worried about something?

a) Use body language to show your concern

b) Suggest several possible solutions to his problem

c) Provide Professional verbal acknowledgement

And your answer is?

Supposedly the correct choice is b): To listen effectively to a worried colleague, it’s best not to try to solve his problem but instead to understand it. If you want to comment, do so only on what your colleague is describing, rather than offering possible solutions to his problem. In addition, use body language to show your concern and provide occasional verbal acknowledgment, such as “I understand” or “I see.”

And my question is: Why is it not best to offer possible solutions to someone else problem?

Don’t worry you are not pressured to come up with a technical response. I just would like to hear your thoughts on this matter – or on whatever you like to share!

We’re OK, right?



12 Responses to “Are You Worried?”

  1. Linda Says:

    This is a hard one, because our instinct is to provive a solution so he no longer has to worry.
    In my opinion you should-
    1. Listen carefully
    2. Ask him what would have to happen for the worry to go away
    3. Ask him what one small step he can take TODAY to start to make it happen
    4. And then ask him what will the next step be, when he’s ready to take it, but not to be in a hurry to do so.

    Hope this is useful.
    Linda/Positive Spin

    • bendedspoon Says:

      Listening and leading him away from worry at his own pace is surely a positive spin! Thank you Linda for sharing your expertise in here 🙂

  2. afirmin Says:

    I think some people just want someone to listen to them. Often when we say our problems out loud we immediately see them in a different light. I have had many sleepless nights over things and when I have spoken to people about what was troubling me, regardless what there response was, I felt better.

    Also I think people shouldn’t always be given the answer but rather given a choice or selection of things where they still have control of the decision. It’s like what we are like with our children. We would fall off the bike for them, let the ball hit us, stand up to the bully and cut the apple just in case. But this doesn’t help them. We are all just children that have to figure things out for ourselves. Yes we should be given support, guidance and help when we need. But ultimately what makes us who we are is what we achieve or solve on our own.

    Although I could be completely wrong! 🙂

    I like the video what is it from?

    Take care Alan.

    • bendedspoon Says:

      That’s true, people want someone to listen to them and they even want themselves to listen to them! It’s different when expressed rather than played in the mind. Much like blogging huh!

      How much guidance and help to be extended to the children are sometimes tricky. All parents want the best for their children — they either provide what the children need because they love them so much; or they do not provide what the children need because they love them so much. Different strokes for same intention and both have its successes and failures all because the choice is still left to the person — what he will make out of what is offered to him.

      The lady in the video cover is Ingrid Michaelson. It is one of her promotional videos for her song Be OK. I like her songs!

      Thank you so much Alan for always sharing your thoughts in here. Really appreciate it especially the learnings I get. God bless you!

  3. Debbie Says:

    Maybe it’s because of the way the question is worded . . .the colleague tells you he is really worried about something. He’s not asking for possible solutions, so maybe just needs to talk to someone trustworthy about it. maybe?
    And maybe because of it being a work environment, it is different that if they come to you just as a friend, outside of work. ?
    Just thinking! Which you always make me do, in a good way! 🙂 God bless you and keep you OK in His love!

    • bendedspoon Says:

      Deb, you made me rewind those office moments. Yes solutions were not actually asked because it is known but not done. And most of the times the things that are being worried about are projected scenarios that might never happen at all.

      Glad that I have no worries with you because you always try to understand me. Thank you Deb!

  4. jmjbookblog Says:

    I feel the same way as you, ‘spoon’, I would want to try and help them out if possible. Sometimes a person is too close to a situation and another person might have a suggestion which would help them out. This is probably why I haven’t been hired yet…lol…they ask one to answer all those “mind” questions and I probably get them wrong…just like I would have gotten this one wrong! 🙂

    • bendedspoon Says:

      It made its way here because I got this wrong. I first answered a then c before I finally got the correct one — no choice left!
      Glad to learn something new 🙂

  5. ladynimue Says:

    What i have experienced is that MOSt of the time the person does not need advice.. just a medium to vent out his/her feelings. If he needed solutions, he would ask you clearly and that’s entirely different conversation. So just listen and try to NOt interrupt much.

  6. I can see why “B” would fit better. With body language, it can appear sugestive in some way that is negative or hard to understand. Giving advice on how you think problem should be solved, can lead to person utilizing idea, idea not working, you get the blame.

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