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.
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.
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