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OW SERIES: Day 36 – Taking the right approach to guilt

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At the end of a webinar a manager told me: “Some of my employees feel guilty for not being able to manage everything at once: teleworking, their children, household tasks… I would like to help them, but I don’t know how”.

Guilt is an emotion that is as unpleasant as it is useful: it appears when we feel we have caused harm and urges us to remedy it. However, it is sometimes excessive or undue. It can be felt in the current situation as a pressure to do everything at once when we simply don’t have the attentional capacity. Managers can help here. Rather than trying to convince a team member that he is wrong to feel guilty, they should work on restoring his self-confidence by highlighting all of his previous successes.

The effect is immediate: the employee’s guilt will be soothed and replaced by a renewed sense of efficiency and confidence.

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By Adrien Chignard

Adrien Chignard, Occupational Psychologist, Sens & Coherence

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