How Do You Tell Your Boss They Need Help?

By O'Connor Professional Group

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Ask that question to a major search engine and you won’t find many answers. You will find plentiful resources for employees trying to decide if they need to disclose their addiction to their employer. How do you tell your boss you need to go to rehab? Do you have to tell your employer you have an addiction problem? These are issues commonly faced by employees everyday. A more rare occasion, but one that is still happening frequently, is when it is not the employee who has an addiction issue but the employer. When a boss is suffering in their mental health, turning to addiction or alcoholism can be their only source of coping.

Unfortunately, addiction is a maladaptive coping mechanism which has a ripple effect on others. In the workplace, an employer’s addiction affects employees, company morale, productivity, and more. An employer’s addiction can affect the mental health of employees by creating a high stress situation with seemingly no resolution. A single employee musters up audacity, as well as true courage and bravery, to approach their employer with concern in order to suggest time in rehab. Anyone considering such a bold move surely feels the immediate somatic threats of stress. The risks and implications of making the decision to confront a boss’s addiction are realistic. You could be fired for crossing a line. Your boss could be fired for their addiction. You don’t want any harm to come to yourself, your family, your boss, or their family. Yet you know, in the core of your heart, with your deepest care and concern, your boss is struggling and everyone in the company is struggling as a result. Whether you are a friend, a family member, an employee, or a stranger, boldly approaching someone who is struggling is an act of compassion.

First you have to check with your company policy and human resources department with some hypothetical situations and find out whether your job is at risk. Second, you have to make the bold decision to face whatever consequences might come your way. Third, research your facts. Present your employer with evidence that their addiction problem is undeniable. Based on any insurance your company may provide, you can research your behavioral health benefits, covered treatment programs, and other options. Offer your employer the utmost respect, care, and compassion as you confront their addiction. Speak your opinion about how their addiction is affecting you, your coworkers, and the company overall. If you are met with adversity or defensiveness, you may want to speak with human resources or another member of the executive suite of your company.

Higher ups, including your employer’s family, may want to stage a professional intervention and create a well structured treatment plan as your employer takes a leave of absence. Your courage and compassion might be a critical first step nobody else is willing to take. Everyone who is suffering with addiction deserves the empathy of someone who is willing to see beyond their addiction. Never hold back caring for other people, no matter who they are.

Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940

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