It can sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders at work. Maybe you missed your last quota and it’s not looking good to make your next one. Or maybe you have looming due dates or a calendar crammed with appointments you can’t possibly make.

When you feel overwhelmed, Karin Hurt and David Dye, the co-founders of Let’s Grow Leaders, say it’s important to take the right approach when asking for help. We share their suggestions in this issue of PromoPro Daily, along with some phrases you can use if you’re a leader.

What To Say If You’re The Help Seeker

  • “What’s most important?” According to Hurt and Dye, it’s critical to know the most important things you need to accomplish at a strategic and tactical level. If you don’t know, overwhelm can easily take over.

  • “Paint me a picture of the victory lap.” Dye and Hurt say one way to get curious about alternative approaches is to be sure everyone understands what success looks like. With success clearly defined, you can feel more empowered to share ideas for other ways of doing things.

  • “Will you lend a hand?” It’s a simple phrase, but many people don’t use it. The next time you’re feeling swamped at work, try asking this question.

  • “I have an idea.” According to Hurt and Dye, constraints are the gateway to creativity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, look for new ways of working, share your ideas and ask for support to make it happen.

  • “Here’s what I need.” If your boss asks what resources or support you need, don’t brush off the offer. Be clear about what you need.

What To Say If You’re The Boss

  • “This is not OK. That can wait.” Help your team members see what’s OK to put on the back burner for now and what they need to focus on. Sometimes, a little clarity can help them climb out of the overwhelm.

  • “I don’t want you working all weekend.” This phrase can be especially helpful for high-achieving employees to hear. Make sure your team knows it’s OK to shut off for the weekend or to leave early sometimes to catch a kid’s dance recital or basketball game.

  • “Let’s figure out a different way to do this.” Dye and Hurt say it’s easy for people to get stuck in old ways of doing things. That’s why it’s important for leaders to be curious and look for alternative solutions.

  • “I really appreciate you and all you are doing.” You can’t say “thank you” too much – especially when someone is feeling overwhelmed and demoralized.

Whether you’re the one reaching out for help or you’re a manager dealing with an overbooked or overwhelmed employee, try the phrases above. They can help provide better clarity on what matters most and uncover alternative solutions to move past the overwhelm.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Karin Hurt and David Dye are co-founders of Let’s Grow Leaders. They’re the award-winning authors of six books.