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How can I handle team members that come to me with their personal problems?

Unfortunately I'm always put in this position, what should I do when team members ask me to give them some advice on their personal problems? Should I give my opinion? Or is it better to keep away from having team members emotionally attached to me?
asked 12 years ago by anonymous

2 Answers

Cook up a few of your own and divert the conversation to you. Rest assured they only want to talk about themselves, and will quit coming to you.

Caution: your problem will shift to other workers who's productivity will wane, so maybe you should be the shoulder after all.

Chuckles aside, my answer is to remain firmly in an offensive stance. You're there for project success, and expect others to be there for the same. Be honest in your response and point the conversation to impacts to the project. Though empathy is essential, it needs to be exhibited in terms of project challenges. You're not there as a personal counselor. They need to find outside solutions to personal problems.  And if the adverse impact to the project of personal problems persist, you need to take corrective action as a project manager.
answered 12 years ago by anonymous
Solacing them is best thing to do first. Provide some guidance or advice. Or guiding them to proper channels to get advice. Reducing work pressure will also motivate them to recoup.

I do advise that you keep a safe distance though.
answered 12 years ago by humblepm (17,390 points)

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