Author Archives: admin

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/

Performance, sleep and Alzheimers alert

Early Alzheimers may just look like fragmented performance.

It’s Alzheimers Awareness month. Early onset Alzheimers in workplaces is a considerable challenge for managers to ethically manage.

We’ve all heard about Alzheimers. But it seems so far away from us; from our work and performance. Sadly, recent research is showing that most people present for testing so late in the progression of the disease that they really reduce the chance of slowing it. The ray of hope though, is that research is currently indicating quite clearly what the risk factors are. Most are risks we can manage, hence delaying the onset of the effect on our performance.

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When confidence becomes overconfidence

When does confidence become overconfidence? Overconfident people rarely check if others agree with them. They assume they’re right and often give advice a little too freely; putting themselves at risk of treading on others’ toes, possibly even being accused of bullying.

So when does just having confidence change to being overconfident? Sadly it can happen so incrementally that it insidiously creeps up on us. Continue reading

Securing your security

In changing times all of us are likely to think of how we are going to secure our career and financial security. We may even be quite concerned about changing state, federal and global economic forecasts and whether we’ll keep our current job, or frighteningly be cast upon ‘the seas of uncertainty’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are concerned, here are three strategies that you can do now. These strategies have provided many of our clients with  a ‘lifeboat’, and some ‘oars’ to row you to safer waters.

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Save yourself from becoming adrift

As the pace and frequency of change accelerates, doing what’s important in our role becomes increasingly challenging. Yet, it’s still likely we will be held to account.

And if we are found wanting, we are likely to face the spectre of ‘being set adrift’ in very uncertain times.

In the Western Australian State Government at the moment most people have been, or are being impacted, by offers of the VTSS (Voluntary targeted separation scheme initiative).

Anticipating and enacting such a change typically brings increased workload, on top of existing priorities. If your personal life had been taking a backseat before the work of the change started, the run towards the end of the financial year may be weighing pretty heavily on you now. At times of peak work demands there are a few tips we can offer to keep yourself as well and functional as possible. Continue reading

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/