It’s not that unusual for people to cry when they work with me. Stopping the daily busy-ness and task-focused activities to pause, reflect and to think well can often bring things to the surface that people hadn’t noticed were there. Our always-on and busy lives lead us to sweep things under the carpet and carry on with an “it’s all fine” and “I’m fine” face on. Sometimes a client’s upset is “normal level” upset, sometimes it’s a symptom of medically-recognisable anxiety for which they need different help than I can provide. And when I say anxiety, don’t picture “jibbering mess, barely able to function”. Instead picture the reality which is genuinely what’s in front of me – capable, confident leaders who are very skilled at what they do and who are able to hide their anxious turmoil REALLY well.
In a couple of months, on 10th and 11th May, the Olympia in London will become home to the CIPD Learning & Development Show.
It’s a fantastic learning event – whether you go to the Conference sessions, spend your time on the Exhibition floor and in the taster sessions, or talking to fellow delegates – there’s something for everyone!
A week ago on 9th March was the latest Learn > Connect > Do : an event held quarterly in Leicester which is for people professionals who care about making work better through doing great people stuff. These are also people who care about giving back while they learn and I’m delighted that we raised a fantastic £130 for Twenty:Twenty through ticket sales. This will enable a young person to get support with transport costs to get to their local centre to learn, or to go for a day out to celebrate their learning successes! And even more than that, with the professional backgrounds we have there are so many other ways delegates can get involved and support these young people into jobs they might never have considered an option before.
As I write this I feel like David D’Souza who’s an expert at these analogies with life (as an example, you can read about Chicken and Business Plans here). I hope mine hits the mark. It’s not rocket science, or brand new information (HT Phoebe), but it’s something I re-noticed while working with a leadership team this week – and I don’t think I’d ever previously made the broader connections of this effect in other activities. Plus I love Chinese food!!
“I feel like a washing machine – everything’s churning round and yet it’s going nowhere.”
“I feel like I’m sinking in it all.”
“This isn’t sustainable.”
These things I’ve heard from leaders I’ve worked with. Men and women who feel swamped. It could be they’ve stepped up into an MD or CEO role where they’re suddenly in the most exposed position they’ve ever known, without development through their transition. Or budgets are cut in in the “reduce costs to maximise profits” race, removing more people from the structure than there are systems or processes to compensate for. Or businesses that have grown so fast, piling the work on those who are there, without stopping to review what’s actually needed to grow sustainably. And sometimes it’s not even any of that. It’s just that sometimes life throws a load of stuff at us all at once – from home, from work, from relationships… and it can be overwhelming.
Today I’m delighted to welcome Shirley Marshall to the Wild Fig blog. Shirley’s an HR Partner at RCI and came to the last Learn > Connect > Do event in December. I was delighted when I heard that Shirley took her learning back to work and wrote an internal blog post to get others thinking and talking about the topic of workplace and collaboration, and she’s kindly given permission for it to be re-produced on here.
“A familiar tale; times are tough,
cut the costs or make the sales.
New systems and tech are set to help
“Reduce the work and boost results”
And of course some people have to go
Middle management, on the whole
Leaving gaping gaps in the work that was
Some that moves up but mostly down.
And all the while the tension pulls:
Last Saturday, 8th October, saw the third CIPD Midlands Area Partnership event. Jon Bartlett and I were the blogsquad for the day and thankfully lots of other people were on the # too. It’s been great to see the numbers of people grow on Twitter at events like these, and there were some good debates happening, as well as straight sharing of content or appreciation of what was being spoken about.
Karen Meager of Monkey Puzzle is speaking about work and leadership. In business we see ‘unhelpful behaviours; and in work we try and address them, often through instruction / process / policy, by changing behaviour. Karen helps business see what’s behind the behavioural ‘issues’ so she’ll be showing us some of these things, some of the science about why and how you can do something about that. And talking about how to know better when you’ve done enough.
For this post I’m delighted to be hosting a piece from Andrew Page. I worked with Andrew and a number of his fellow leaders alongside Lane 4 as part of their leadership development programme at Loughborough Uni, and I subsequently went on to work with more of the Anglian team at one of their main UK locations.