One of the hardest things in life is when someone we love or care deeply about is having a tough time. It is hard on us, too, and it’s difficult to know how much or how little we should get involved.

If the relationship isn’t very close, it may be most comfortable to avoid the person who is in a crisis. It’s not unusual for people to tell me how lonely it was for them when they were going through a difficult time, how quiet it got. No one called or got in touch.

We all face situations in our lives where someone very close to us goes through a rough time. I’m thinking about my children here. When my sons are going through something difficult, I want so badly to jump in and solve the problem for them. I want to take over. I hate to see how a normal life crisis is causing them such pain.

I am so tempted to tell them how they should act, think and handle their own crisis. It takes a lot of energy to consciously figure out how I, as a parent, can let them go so that they can work through their own processes. I don’t want to steal from them by not letting them find their own crisis behavior and their own way of processing. There is nothing that says that their way of handling crises has to be like mine.

The best support we can give those we love is our presence, a listening ear and our warmth. It is so tempting to give advice and take over. All individuals must be allowed to own their own crises. What happens inside me when someone I love is having a rough time, that is something I have to handle myself.

Everything in life is about balance. In this case, daring to get close to other people’s crises, but not taking over.

The same principles apply to us as leaders. A leader allows an employee to deal with his or her own crisis. Finding the balance here is a real key. Don’t do too much and don’t do too little.

Have a brilliant day!

Ulf Lidman

Being there for someone.