Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away


Yesterday I had the honour of playing a small part in new trainee instructors for @i-acttraining on their journey to become accredited.

Delivering the Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing course to them and some insightful managers joining to upskill themselves in this critical area is always insightful. This session more so than others.

Learning how different workplaces still have a deficit in understanding, analysing and recognising the emotional culture of their environment, the emotional intelligence of their teams – tops to bottom – and the wellbeing of all staff has been an eye opener over the many years I’ve worked in the strategic area of personal growth.  

We all recognise Covid has added additional pressures.  These pressures are more amplified and dangerous where there has been no examination of emotional intelligence and workplace culture nor effective well-being tools taught.

Over recent months I’ve heard heartfelt concerns about the toxic workplace cultures, lack of empathy and focus on staff’s wellbeing some delegates have expressed.  

These concerns are even more stark when the delegates are from charities, often working through their lunch, exhausted and running on empty to satisfy their leaders working well away from the ‘front-line’. Wait for it, many are volunteers – not paid but exhausting themselves because they care so much about the end user.

What jolted me yesterday was a delegate from a regional control centre for the ambulance service sharing the results of a survey carried out in their area.  77% of respondents from the service said they were experiencing mental ill health issues, feeling demotivated and running on empty. What’s more telling is a further 10% refused to answer those particular questions around their health. So it’s reasonable to believe 87% of the ambulance crews in this region feel like this. Just reflect on that for a moment.

We are told often the NHS is facing it’s biggest pressure ever due to Covid, winter etc.  We can talk about mis-management, underfunding and so on – issues that have likely been present for decades. We hear so much about this that we become numb to it ‘the NHS has been like that for years’.  That may be true – but reflect on those frontline staff we all depend on in our own emergency situations experiencing similar to what the delegate shared below.  

But here’s the thing, this delegate shared that none of their colleagues have time to practice their own self-care.  They eat fast food continuously because it’s a case of what can they grab quickly in the few minutes they might be able to snatch in between ‘shouts’.  There is no time for ‘fun’ in the workplace.  Every work place should have fun in it.  @i-acttraining is great at teaching well-being windows we can all do that nurture our wellbeing and build our resilience levels, clear our minds to enable rational thought and deliver the energy needed to get through the shifts. These can be done alone or as part of a team and cost NO MONEY but deliver so many benefits.

The delegate was fired-up at the end of the session to take back the critical learning to their managers. 

All workplace cultures have to change.  Energy and investment should be aimed at staff – they are the ones looking after your end clients.  If they are feeling exhausted, demotivated and devalued – newsflash – you clients will feel it and go elsewhere.  Your business and profits will suffer.

I personally don’t want an ambulance crew turning up when I’m in the most awful situation of my life knowing they are running on empty and suffering themselves.  Do you?

Nor do I want to interact with anyone I am buying products or services from who are also exhausted.  Do you?

Richard Branson on being interviewed many years ago on how he made Virgin such a success said something like “I don’t focus on my clients.  I focus on my staff.  If they are in a great place, they will deliver a great service to my clients” Fabulous insight.

Focussing on budgets, deadlines is what the NHS, and may businesses have done for years.  

Where would they be now if they had focussed on the emotional culture of their workplace, the behavioural impact of their management on teams, the wellbeing and self-care of all their staff?

Keep doing the same thing will only deliver the same results.

Is now the time for workplaces – ALL workplaces – to do better and differently?

So where to start?

You can’t change what you can’t see.  So stop ignoring, take the blinkers off and investigate, assess and deliver. It’s the only way to be sure your business and teams are thriving, not just surviving.

Investigate – carry out an Emotional Culture Index of your workplace. It’s quick, easy and gives an overview of exactly how your staff feel, compared to how they expected to feel in their role and their ideal level.

Assess – carryout Genos Emotional Intelligence Assessments – the only tool that focuses on development through coaching sessions to achieve closure of gaps revealed in behaviours,

Deliver – Rollout the @i-iacttraining Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing training to all staff managing people.  There is an equivalent role for non-managers Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing.  Both courses deliver over 50 self-care tools which can also be used in supporting others, as well as training in how to implement self-care windows through each day. Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and delivers CPD points.  This is a global product which can be run anytime, anywhere by the same instructor giving uniform delivery of this bespoke, proactive product.

The Ambulance Service is not the only workplace experiencing issues of mental ill health, exhaustion and demotivation.  How long before those issues bubbling away under the surface, being ignored erupt?

Here’s a thought to finish with – what will happen to your business if you put your people first instead of deadlines and profits?

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