How to Support a Team Member During a Big Life Event

How to Support a Team Member During a Big Life Event

It’s Wednesday morning and Melissa walks into the office.
“Sabina, why are you staring at me?”
-twitch unintelligible string of words – “proofread crossword. travel Tom, ring bearer gift” – twitch
Somehow, some way, she understood me. This is what happens when your wedding is four days away, and your team is the best ever. Besides mapping out Melissa covering for me while I am on my honeymoon, she helped me proofread the crossword I made for my wedding programs, and brainstorm a gift for my ring bearer. Talk about ‘other duties as assigned!’
The whole Swift Kick team has been unbelievably supportive since I got engaged. In fact, there’s a running joke that every new intern picks up on – “Wait, Sabina, you’re getting married?!?!?!?” I talk about it so often that they feel the need to tease. For reference, here is a video of Tom impersonating me.
Sooner or later, someone you work with, in any capacity, will have a big life event happen. I realized that our Core Values at Swift Kick align perfectly with supporting that team member. So whether your teammate is getting married, moving, changing jobs, or having a baby, here are a few things you can do to be more than a work acquaintance.

1) Give them grace.

They are most likely dealing with a million different emotions, even through the normal work day. They might physically be in a meeting but mentally they are making a list of things to do. As we say at SK, See It Through Their Eyes. Imagine how they must be feeling and have patience with them when they seem less focused than normal.

2) Raise the Tide

This is another core value of Swift Kick, and it’s HUGELY important at times like these. Go above and beyond your role as a teammate, if you can. Melissa kept me focused not only on work that Wednesday, but made sure I was doing what I had to do to wedding prep. Without her, my program would have had mistakes in it.

3) Let them share.

BAM! Married.

Another value we often use on our team is Open Door, Open Hearts (aka ODOH). Tom allowed me to stop a meeting the day after I got engaged so I could share my exciting story. There was squealing and smiles all around. Tom and Mel listened to me talk about wedding drama and everything I have to do and they remind me to focus on what’s important. Not only is my wedding a big deal for me, but it brought us closer as a team.

4) BE THERE!

Depending on your relationship within the team, make an effort to be there in whatever capacity you can. Tom and Melissa will be there on my big day because I couldn’t imagine getting married without them there to celebrate. We happen to be friends as well as co-workers. Even if you aren’t invited to the wedding, or you probably shouldn’t be there when she gives birth, be there in whatever way makes sense. Throw a baby shower, go out to lunch to toast to big news, send cards.
Every member of the Swift Kick team gave their all to surround me with love during the year and three months that I was planning my wedding. Instead of my wedding becoming a distraction to my work (ok it still did), it became a part of what it means to be on a team.
At the end of the day on that Wednesday, Melissa looked at me all sad and said, “I am so sorry, I wish I could be here to help you before the wedding but I have to go do a program at a school. Otherwise, I’d be upstate at your house.”
That, my friends, is how you be a team member.
Sabina Colleran
sabina@swiftkickhq.com

Sabina is the Community Manager at Swift Kick, and loves that her job is dedicated to helping students be as awesome as they were meant to be. She is a graduate of Fordham University (go Rams!) and has fond memories of being an Orientation Leader and on the board of the Filipino club while in college. Her life goal is to be a perpetual ball of sunshine. Find her on twitter @sabinadeelight!
http://about.me/Sabina.De.Matteo/