According to a survey of 1,000 people, (thank you Amy at Diabetes Mine for the direct link) 82% of respondents said they knew someone with a chronic illness but only 34 percent were likely to suggest ways for this person to better manage their care.
Well, hurray for the 66% who know better than to give unasked for advice!
But, this is a critical topic. I’ve heard too many stories of supervisors who hesitate to say anything about an illness (but they’re thinking it’s time for something to change or this guy or girl isn’t long for this job) because they don’t want to offend an employee. And the employee hasn’t got a clue about what the boss is thinking.
Living with chronic illness — you can forget that other people don’t know what to do or say. And – that’s not just your neighbor or mother-in-law. Your boss or co-worker feels this, too. And, that can be dangerous to your work health.
Like it or not, you have to create the conversation so it achieves what you need – empathy, decreasing isolation, help and accommodations when you need it. If you can’t do it, get help. I coach people daily on how to create conversation that achieves their desires. It’s not rocket science but it can be more than you can do on your own.