Saturday, 5 February 2011

Resilience – a new favourite

Yesterday my daughter mentioned that my postings were becoming very negative, ‘bordering on the rant’ and just before a recent session in the gym, my personal trainer made a plea for me not to watch parliamentary broadcasts before I saw her as it ‘makes you a bit scary’.

I admit - I do feel that I’ve been losing my mojo recently and for a happy little bunny like me that is akin to disaster. The problem is, I’ve been spending far too much time focussing on the problems with the Health and Social Care Bill, the inadequacies of the planning process and the general crassness (yes that is a word) of the coalition government’s healthcare team. A picture of Andrew Lansley (UK Secretary of State for Health) incites a Pavlovian response in me and a dark cloud instantly appears above my head. There I go again…

So it was most fortuitous that I attended the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Wellbeing and Resilience Conference this week. Resilience is a buzz word that is gaining momentum among corporate wellbeing specialists and I felt it was time to learn more.

The event was well organised with a good selection of delegates, including HR directors from public and private sector and a few well established coaches and trainers. The speakers generally met their brief and the day was stimulating and informative. As usual, a few speakers really stood out and provided me with some food for thought.

Leatham Green, Assistant Director, Personnel Training from East Sussex County Council was captivating, and provided us all with some real nuggets which I would like to share with you. Even though he occupied one of the ‘graveyard slots’ (straight after lunch), attention was rapt throughout the room as he provided the first of the day, and best, definition of Resilience.

‘Resilience = Realistic Optimism’


Leatham also went on to share some very sensible advice about how managers should approach job and budget cuts as they see staff redundancies and fear spread, especially in the public sector. Resilience is important as it is how people respond to change that impacts the way forward. He warned us that ‘Child-parent’ conversations with your staff should be avoided, but informed discussions, coaching and counselling regarding their options is key.

Which brings me back to the NHS……

There are many managers literally scooting down corridors effectively wailing ‘We’re all doomed! Doomed!’ (ref: The Undertaker, Corporal Frazer in Dad’s Army).  Luckily, there are also some very careful managers and leaders who are taking the ‘resilient’ approach.

So let’s hope for more realistic optimism and less panic and maybe we can start to make sense of workplace wellbeing and resilience and really help staff to find the best way forward.

And I shall do my best to stop being so grumpy…


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