I have been reflecting very much on systems and aspects that we have as well as the part we all believe we have to play within it. Everyone has a varying viewpoint and may not realise, positively or negatively, the impact that they have. Is the bit that we do needed anymore, or is it time to evolve? Have we evolved and we hadn’t seen this until we are reviewed at some point?
I have been fascinated also about the thought of systems being circles within circles, all interconnected and having a shared goal, however responding in a unique way. This unique response is indeed a pebble in a pond and the ripples, even those subtle ones are felt. There are many theorists who interlink systems, sociology and psychology, which is to be expected as we are holistic beings. With this is mind we need to consider our actions carefully, and plan for what may be an improvement in one area, but detrimental to another. This is why organisations need to recognise that targets are sometimes misleading in identifying progress. Thinking big, looking outward, finding your links in the system, allow for a collaboration in a shared understanding, where change is inevitable and actions fluid.
There is also something about how we are viewing this system - is it viewed as the earth once was, as a flat disc? Or is it more of a global view that we understand now, rounded and deep, equality all round? Take the first scenario here, if we are working horizontally then we are only seeing one level, this is not inclusive, and may involve a group of people that could potentially be a far cry from the interface of provider and user interaction. All could be excellent work but not connected at all levels. The global concept provides depth, equality, an understanding that if something happens underneath the surface there is a reaction at the top - like a volcano. Because of observations and communications globally we are able to understand, plan and make provision with a better shared knowledge and ability to respond. Also, as with the natural world, the fluidity of change can at times be predictable, but this is invariably abundant in unpredictability also.
So whichever part of a system you are in, consider who is in the global circle around you and keep moving outwards, communicating, identifying, building, trusting...
I have spent some time networking locally to get to know the people behind the SME’s in the area. It has been a really positive learning experience to reflect on, through listening to all the issues that were raised and the solutions people had found. The diversity of interests as well as the essential nature of our trades.
There were three main things that struck me, and that was a sense of belonging that these forums provided, trusting relationships that were built or developing and the engaging nature of person to person contact.
Loneliness, statistically is high, and with this mentioned it is our older people that may be first brought to mind. However, there is a phenomena around loneliness in the workplace. This may equate with the evidence base as being those within the bigger organisations, however there is a real capacity for isolation when working in a smaller enterprise. The self-employed may be simply the “self” with no colleagues, or heading-up a business and not have someone to share the unique experiences of this with another, therefore shouldering all the burdens of the day to day as well as the bigger decisions to be made. So observing what I have, within very different networking forums, this has given a genuine opportunity for acquiring support from others and indeed facilitated it well.
There was a clear message from one of the forums that it was not about rocking up and networking complete, it was about building that trust over time. One could be cynical and say that they were trying to get visitors to sign up for membership, but this was echoed by members in all the groups, that networking and referrals build over time hand-in-hand with trust. This is obviously facilitated by the face to face nature of networking forums, which provides that engagement that only direct contact can provide.
So love it or hate it, networking appeared to be a good thing. I was observing primarily from a Health & Wellbeing aspect, but actually it appeared to be effective from a business perspective too. There was a sense though that this was not achieved without consistency of contact and a genuine driver of supporting others in similar positions locally.
Three key elements were: Engagement Consistency & Trust
According to Care UK (2018), 1 in 8 adults (around 6.5 million people) are carers
Work can be a welcome change from caring requirements and be a source of maintaining contact with the world and create a sense of normality. There are times when things will not run smoothly, i.e. a fall, but this does not mean it is not possible to support this through having open discussions to ensure that there is openness in pro-actively managing the situation for all.
Is there a link that could be made in the workplace to voluntary organisations? Could you link carers with other carers in your workplace so that there is active support and sharing of learning and experiences which could be of real benefit to all concerned. Just some things to think of to support carers maintaining some stability in work whilst managing the demands of caring.
Carers contribute hugely to society and by supporting them we are too, so what can you do to help a carer today?
Do we always see what we need to about ourselves, or are we looking around the edges of what we need to be focussing on? It is really easy to avoid looking introspectively by keeping busy, turning away, keeping our thoughts quieted and the feedback of others at bay. I read an interesting passage by Henri Nouwen and it led to the consideration that, actually looking at the self with such focus can be extremely challenging, and temptingly avoidable. Perhaps in the practice of taking-up this challenge the avoidance behaviours can subside. With these indicators being quieted, we could be on the path to peace and stillness inside and out. It is helpful to have a way to achieve this, but of course this will be very individual, however there are routes to take that can support unearthing some of this. Coaching can be really useful; being able to explore in a safe way, it allows discomfort as a passage to change, yet can be facilitated with the right fit.
It is important to see this in others, and with a positive working relationship the feedback can be invaluable in supporting colleagues to move on, rather than be held in a situation that is potentially unhelpful. With a greater awareness of mental health too, it really helps to get to know colleagues and how to get the right assistance, if needed and how to tell the difference.
Know your avoidance tactics and that of others and you will achieve movement and growth. Don't forget, there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone...
“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible” Winston Churchill
This quote demonstrates to me the positivity of a visionary with leadership excellence. That is what we need from a leader, the ability to horizon scan, know the team and how they are best deployed with the overarching sense that pulling together will realise the dream.
This takes a co-ordinator who has integrity, is humble and values the contribution of others. Who does not believe that they are in a higher place but elevates all those around them. This requires honed communication skills, an ability to listen intently whilst demonstrating emotional intelligence and huge self-awareness.
So how do you learn this? Know yourself, know yourself well in adversity. Appreciate others and make space to hear them. Never stop learning and absorbing information, even from the unlikeliest of sources.
Most of all be passionate, kind and honest in all your do and the positivity will flow making a great leader.