A man in the UK with whom I’ve been in contact writes. And with his permission I tell you:

“After I received my cancer diagnosis I collapsed! It’s too early to die at 29! I panicked! Severe panic attacks, it was unbearable.

My doctor wanted to put me on sick leave. The thought of not going to work was unthinkable. Sitting at home alone would drive me crazy!

I made the decision to disclose to my line manager and my colleagues about my condition. My boss immediately asked what he could do to make things manageable at work. He was not comfortable addressing my situation.

My colleagues however started avoiding me. Probably because they were concerned about my personal space or they could not handle the fact that I have cancer. Well, it’s better that they keep their distance. I don’t have the energy to carry their issues. I have enough with my own reactions.

My boss asked if I had good support at home. Something I am grateful that I have. He asked me how I have dealt with other crisis in my life. He was not too much and he was not avoiding me. He knew his role as a manager.

I just want to tell you how pleased I am with him as my boss. He checks up on me every now and then. Makes sure I know he is available and that his door is open for any concerns I may have.

That’s all I need in this time of uncertainty. A manager who makes it easier to remain at work. He doesn’t get too close and he is not afraid of mouthing the word cancer. It is so great to not be on sick leave when I don’t want or need to. I need to be at work and feel normal – everything else in my life is affected by the uncertainties tha come with having cancer.”

When I hear about leaders with crisis competence I feel so good. A leader who is secure I his role. Not avoiding but also not trying to act as an amateur therapist.

Have a brilliant day!

Ulf Lidman

A competent leader does not feel uncomfortable.