Category Archives: Managers Assistance

Taking account of the new year

As the new year starts and we put energy into achieving our goals, we need to quarantine some energy for integrity checks. In the rush and enthusiasm to move forward, sometimes we forget all the aspects of our behaviour for which we can be held to account.

We often feel that if  our work has progressed, it is all OK. All OK at the moment. But what if we were held to account for the ‘bright and shiny’ new work 5 or even 10 or 15 years later? What would the moral compass of that time find fault with?  And would we have to explain ourselves in retrospect, with a whole new moral compass. Being a public officer has this potential.

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Take heart – what can EAP do for heart and brain health?

This week is both Heart Week and the week Oars Across the Waters celebrates 14 years of providing mental health and management support; 14 years supporting our clients with their choices for psychological and physical health.

Heart week is wonderful prompt to us all to make healthy life choices, to not only extend our life but extend the quality of the ‘end of life’ years. The Heart Foundation released disturbing news this week ‘that more than two thirds of Australian adults – almost 13 million people, or 69.1 per cent – have at least three risk factors for the nation’s biggest killer, heart disease’: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/news/almost-13-million-aussies-risk-heart-disease-new-data. The World Health Organisation’s research indicates that although we’ve increased our longevity, many of the last years of our life are lived in poor health.

For us as counsellors, heart health and brain health are closely linked.  Alzheimers Associations globally are reporting that the chance of developing Alzheimers, is reduced for many of us, by a lifestyle that’s good for our heart.

This is good news for all of us who want to live and work long productive lives, and for employers who want a reliable healthy workforce.

Lifestyle choices, and the thinking and beliefs associated with them are open to change; the sort of change that comes about in high quality counselling and education sessions. Employee Assistance Providers are skilled at delivering these sessions. Like us, most EAP providers can provide both development sessions on lifestyle choices and cognitive behavioural therapy for better lifestyle choices.

EAPs can help employees through both current and future troubled waters. Their proactive services have a huge role to play in supporting the health of the nation. EAPAA lists the member providers in your state: http://www.eapaa.org.au/site/providers/

Or simply contact us for managers’ and staff support and development: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Heading to Christmas

As we head to Christmas many managers confide in us that they are feeling tired by their attempts to address long term issues with or between staff. They say they hope that staff will return in the new year refreshed;putting previous issues with other staff behind them. But some go on to say this has not happened in the past and there needs to be a new approach.

Christmas and the New Year does give opportunity to raise issues. However the conversation to bring these to the surface needs some planning.

We need to be aware that the festive season often involves staff in more competing priorities than they normally experience. The conversation you are contemplating having, needs to not trigger these existing tensions, but rather give hope that overrides tensions; overrides the tensions that would otherwise prevent your staff member in working through alternatives to what they are currently doing or how they are behaving.

To have this conversation you may want to take some time to rehearse it with one of our expert guides.

In our quiet, comfortable consulting rooms, many managers are able to download, problem solve and refocus. All you need to do to access this service is to contact us. We’re here to assist: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

A sense of loss

Western Australians have been experiencing a long term sense of loss; loss of GST  dollars, loss of the mining boom and loss of employment stability. The release of the report into major projects by John Langoulant, former Under Treasurer, is said by the ABC to provide ‘a scathing assessment of the former Liberal-National government’s management of the state in leading WA to a string of large deficits and a debt bill north of $30 billion.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/langoulant-inquiry-into-wa-finances-slams-barnett-government/9465312

The report recommends re-building of the WA Public Sector.

As EAP and Management Assistance providers to the WA State Government we have been seeing and supporting individuals affected by this context.

The solutions individually and organisationally can be expressed deceptively simply, but conversations with senior WA Public Sector staff indicate they are incredibly difficult to put into practice.

The solutions to GET better that we recommend can be put as:

Get sleep – stop working unrealistic hours – the effect is serious – as seen in the West Australian newspaper today; a school principal  working chronically long hours has tragically passed away, literally at her desk.

Eat well – many of you may be hearing about the ‘Gut’ and the effect of our microboime on our mood. Once our gut is affected it can then dampen our mood in a self perpetuating cycle of poor physical and mental health.

Think clearly – this ‘think clearly’ solution is influenced heavily by our sleep and our diet.

These 3 GET solutions are interdependent. If your thinking is compromised by long exposure to stress and its effect of shrinking parts of your brain, and building up of brain detritus, you may need  assistance to think rationally and break this vicious cycle.

Coupled with this long term stress we also see many people carrying a sense of loss. Page 78 of the Langoulant report gives this context: ‘the notion that the public sector has a culture in which all officers are working for the betterment of the state [and putting into practice their AEDM training] appears to have diminished in recent years to the point that such a proposition, when put, is met by some with cynicism and others with mirth. It follows that the level of trust between government and the Public Sector needs to be rebuilt and the workforce’s skill levels need rebuilding.’

In EAP service provision we are seeing a plethora of clients for whom this loss of trust and skill is combined with of long hours, that over time impact and interfere with clear thinking. Further conflict, and bullying allegations are being levelled at change managers who are doing their best to implement fiscal requirements, but struggling themselves.

The sense of loss, loss of status, loss of control typically elicits a full range of debilitating loss emotions. In our consulting rooms we are skilled at assisting managers and staff to deal with these loss emotions and to smooth the waters to  rational, energetic thought again.

Contact us confidentially:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

 

Been accused of being ‘abrasive’?

Been accused of being ‘abrasive’ or ‘needing to work on your people skills’?

Practitioners assisting managers in this field are increasingly encouraging senior executives and HR professionals to see this situation as one in which ‘functional’ and ‘dysfunctional’ use of our strengths has caused an issue and is highly resolvable.

Your drive and determination to achieve results may be deeply valued by your superiors, but deeply threatening to others around you. That is, your approach is highly functional in one work domain but highly dysfunctional in others. For our counsellors this is a commonly occurring human problem and very much a resolvable one.

To gain further tips in this area sign up to our regular mail outs: sign up to the right of this post.

Or contact us through our confidential contact page for more personalised assistance: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Vexed management situations: a blow up at work

Managers Assistance receives many calls like the one below:

We have a problem. We don’t know if you’ll be able to help but you were recommended to us. We have had a blow up at work. We sat the two people down to work it out, but it just got worse with one of the people now being on ‘stress leave’. We’re hoping you can provide some help or mediation. 

As the employee walked out she said she’s  ‘sick to death of all of us. No other manager has ever found fault with her and we are an uncaring bunch who don’t care a hoot about her and what she’s been going through!’ We know that her son is a bit off the rails and has been stealing from her.

Previously we’ve offered her EAP for herself and her son but she said he wouldn’t go to a counsellor. Continue reading

Delivering bad news

Delivering bad news can take many forms including advising staff that their positions have been made redundant; or that a grievance has been lodged against someone; or that a staff member’s performance is below desirable levels.

We regularly coach managers to work through these difficult situations, and particularly in delivering bad news associated with structural change within the WA Public Sector. This is in a context of the relatively new possibility of State Government involuntarily redundancy and termination. Our support includes:

Managing your own reactions in this difficult situation

  • Anticipating the reactions of the person you’ll be talking with
  • Managing information flow; how much information to impart and timing of information
  • Managing rather than inflaming their emotions
  • How to close the conversation with sensitivity

In our quiet, comfortable consulting rooms, many managers who are about to deliver bad news, are able to download, problem solve and refocus. All you need to do to access this service is to contact us. We’re here to assist: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Too Busy to Stop

Senior Consultant

Ann Convery Senior Consultant BSc Grad Dip (Bus) Multiple Lonnie Award winner

It’s been a long time since I met someone who wasn’t busy…someone who when asked about their week, replied “Yeah, it’s been a good week. Not much on, just been relaxing after work and spending time with the family”.  It seems that being ‘busy’ is the new socially acceptable way to spend your day. It seems like, if you’re not busy, you’re doing something wrong. It’s almost a guilty secret you need to hide from those around you who are frantically, relentlessly completing task after task.

 Nothing planned for the weekend?!? Half your luck!

Left work on time and had a relaxing dinner with your family??! Wish I had your life!

When was the last time you stopped and thought about where you choose to direct your energy and time?

Or just stopped.

And thought.

A while ago I started to wonder if maybe there was something going on. A reason why so many of us feel the same way at the end of the week; sigh with relief as we reach for a wine and take a breather away from our ‘busy’ lives.

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Competing priorities assistance

In the complex management environment of uncertain economic times, budget restraint and a State Government recruitment freeze, managers are likely to be juggling multiple and competing priorities.

Our experience indicates this constant challenge can create angst, sometimes sleeplessness and the potential for impaired judgement in accountable and ethical decision making.

In our quiet, comfortable consulting rooms, many managers are able to download, problem solve and refocus. All you need to do to access this service is to contact us. We’re here to assist: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/