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Do you know a paraskevidekatriaphobe?


Friday, 13th today. Superstitious rubbish, yes or no?


It’s never really bothered me, although I can’t say I’d be rushing to arrange anything special on that particular date.


One estimate suggests that between 17 and 21 million Americans are so afraid of this date that companies will lose between $800 and $900 million in business due to them refusing to travel or go to work.


The fear in some is so great it has its own name: paraskevidekatriaphobia.


Whatever we believe ourselves, there are always others who will think and feel differently. As responsible and empathetic leaders, managers and colleagues, the better we understand our people, teams and colleagues, the better we are able to serve and support them.


Taking time to observe and talk to our colleagues allows us to notice changes in behaviour; do they seem distracted or withdrawn, have they unexpectedly called in sick, or made their excuses to avoid travelling? Just a few of the signals to suggest that they may need some support.


By taking them aside and asking really simple and authentic open questions such as, “How are things going today?” can promote a conversation where they feel confident in speaking about their concerns. Actively listening to their responses can open the door to longer conversations, not only giving us insight into how we can offer support, but building solid foundations of trust and psychological safety.


So, do you know any paraskevidekatriaphobes? Or don’t you know?


Perhaps today is a good time to find out.

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