Most people accept that life can be busy and difficult, and much of the time people cope with stress at work or with stress in their private lives. But there are very few who can cope with both at the same time – and the signs will be there if you look for them.
The best line managers don’t not sit by passively, a friend to all, but are more intrusive, looking for those little signs that are always there when someone is struggling.
There are three types of managers: those who shape and manage what is going on; those who watch what is going on; and those who wonder what is going on.
As very few of us are born managers, most of us require help, encouragement and mentoring along the way if we are to learn the signs that someone is struggling. And this is crucially important if you are to avoid standing by as a situation escalates to a grievance.
Because one of the first things a workplace investigator learns is that their work very rarely involves investigating one big incident, but more usually it involves investigating the cumulative effect of many minor incidents, which either went unnoticed altogether, or which were not dealt with by the line manager at a time when their involvement could have made a big difference.