When we look at how our we or our organisations are performing we rightly look at the things that are going well, we celebrate the successes and we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. This positive reflection is important for morale, for motivation for learning lessons and for lots of other reasons I can't think of.
However it's essential that we also talk about the things that need improving, the reds and ambers in the RAG status document and give an appropriate amount of time to them.
This is 'even more' important when the things we are talking about are our people, the lifeblood of the organisation, the 'resource' without which we would be able to do nothing, at least until Skynet comes in.
I sometimes get a bit (over) passionate about this and focus on the negative bit and here's why.....
If a company made wine and 20% of the bottles had glass floating in them, that company would (I hope) concentrate a lot on that 20%. I don't expect that they would spend very long talking about the 80% that are ok.
If a company made cars and 10% of them set on fire I think they'd be talking about that.
I think these decisions to focus on the bit that carries the risk are 'easy' because it's easier to understand the consequences of not doing so (injury, deaths, litigation etc).
So when we're talking about our people do we get the balance right of the effort and time we take talking about the things that are good and not so good. As I said above I completely understand that we need to talk about the good stuff and celebrate success, I'm just not sure we have the balance right when it comes to staff health, safety and wellbeing.
Mental health is often hidden, as we know. The indicators of it can be hard to spot and many people feel the stigma and don't want to talk about it. Some people feel stigmatised for their mental health even when they have been open about it.
if 1 in 4 or 25% of your family, friends or organisation was going to break their leg this year you would talk about it a lot, discuss how you could reduce that number, how you could support those people and the impact on the other 75%, who might be breaking their leg next year.
If a good chunk of that 25% had been mentioning they were a bit wobbly, were struggling, had started tripping you'd be concerned and do what you could to make sure they didn't break their leg, do some preventative things, take some action, perhaps even resource up a plan to do something.
I don't think you'd spend too long talking about the 75% of people whose legs were ok.
So why do we do that with mental health.
Anyway, I'm rambling, so back to the point i'm badly making.
Celebrate success, acknowledge what is going well, it's critically important, but get the balance right.
I know it can be difficult, because it's hard to understand because you can't see it, or no one has ever admitted to you they struggle and how it makes them feel. But it's critical we do deal with it. Sharing, being open and listening are essential to improve things. Lets make sure it's not in the too difficult box.
I read an amazing post about anxiety yesterday.
It concludes with "But more than anything anxiety is caring. It’s never wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. It’s never wanting to do something wrong. More than anything, it’s the want and need to simply be accepted and liked. So you try too hard sometimes."
I thought I could have written the article.
I care. Perhaps I care too much.
I'm writing this in a hospital waiting room waiting to have an ultrasound to check a lump. I should be focussing on myself but I can't and am working on my laptop (I have loads on at the moment) and am writing this.
It's because I really want to be liked. It's because I care about people. Often a lot more than I care about myself.
And it's anxiety that makes me feel like that.
I love the fact that I care. I love the fact that I want to do things for others. I just wish I could give a bit to myself.
Mr Paul Wyse