Complex Conflict

There is undoubtedly a sense of relief as we see our friends and colleagues in Victoria getting many of their freedoms back. We have seen a rise in feelings of optimism and more positive emotions replacing feelings of disempowerment, isolation or hopelessness experienced in recent weeks. What we’re also seeing is a rise in more complex conflict and to a greater degree than what’s been experienced before. Conflict over more issues simultaneously, and increasingly shifting from person to person to team-based conflict.

Great leaders know how to foster and manage conflict in ways that help individuals and teams realise that conflict when engaged in positively, can be enormously empowering for individuals and teams. However, left unchecked and unresolved, it can lead to frustration and reduced productivity. As a leader, when to step in and when to let the team learn and grow from conflict is not an easy call to make.

As a leader, it is vital to role model positive behaviours, manage your emotions, listen to your people, understand what is driving stress and be open about what those drivers are. You are then better equipped to have open conversations, try to simplify the issues and use conflict situations to move forward. We have spoken recently about harnessing conflict for positive change; however, this week’s leader and personal tools address team-based conflict and strategies for your people to apply in situations where complex conflict is becoming a problem. We've created new Tools focusing on team-based conflict and strategies for dealing with conflict. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

If we can take something positive from the events of this year, it may just be that we have had to adapt quickly and take a good look at the way we work; what works and what we can leave behind when we imagine the new work environments we will create post-COVID. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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Responding to Domestic and Family Violence during the Pandemic

When I think about the statistics on domestic and family violence, it’s hard to understand the numbers. It’s even harder to think about the real-life impact of what has occurred and is occurring right now. If at least 1 in 61 women is affected, there could be victims and perpetrators somewhere in any of our workplaces or personal lives. Could it be that they are very good at hiding what is going on? How do we make sure that as leaders we are doing all we can to ensure that those impacted by domestic violence feel psychologically safe and able to seek support? Last week our spotlight was on trust. Trust is vital in helping support our people who may be impacted by domestic and family violence. Our role is to facilitate support, we are not expected to have all the answers, and in many cases there will not be a solution.

This week we turn our spotlight on supporting people across all organisations to respond to domestic and family violence during the pandemic.

The 25th of November is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women with White Ribbon Day on Friday, 20th November.  At AccessEAP, we strongly support these awareness days, particularly with the severity and frequency of domestic violence reported increasing as a result of the pandemic2. Often the workplace is known to provide a safe place for victims of domestic and family violence. Working from home and other restrictions has increased isolation and the natural circuit breaker that leaving the home provides for both victim and perpetrator. Organisations have a vital role to play by raising awareness of this issue, understanding when and how to offer support, and addressing attitudes in the workplace which perpetuate domestic violence. 

We recognise that this is a topic which causes unease and we appreciate you taking the time to think about this very hard topic. However, there are things you can do that will help and make it easier for victims as well as those supporting victims, we've created two new tools to assist you. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

At AccessEAP, we are sensitive and equipped to deal with the complexities of all forms of violence (domestic, family and intimate partner) that may occur. We encourage you to reach out for support, especially at this difficult time given the unique pressures created by the pandemic. We offer Psychological Counselling and 1-1 Support, as well as Domestic and Family Violence training offerings.  Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

References

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/behaviours-risk-factors/domestic-violence/overview
https://www.aic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-07/sb28_prevalence_of_domestic_violence_among_women_during_covid-19_pandemic.pdf

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Cultivating Trust

This week we are really pleased to see restrictions eased in Victoria. We want to acknowledge the sacrifices that people have made, as it has been a very challenging time. It’s also important to call out the strengths that people have shown throughout this - resilience, endurance and trust. Victorians in workspaces across the state have had to reach out for help and trust that their colleagues including those in other states would be there for them. 

This experience in particular, and the pandemic in general, highlights the importance of trust. We have seen world leaders rated in terms of trust and the success of their efforts fighting COVID-19 directly relate to whether their people trust that they are equipped to successfully lead them. We have seen how invaluable having the trust of your people is when uncertainty and change are the only constants.

We're turning our spotlight on trust and building trusting teams.

The positive traits are great foundations to build upon. Optimism, realism, hope, self-belief and trust are traits that help us survive and then thrive. Trust is a critical leadership lifestyle and one that can not be switched off and on. As leaders, we need to consistently support an environment where our people can trust us and each other. Allowing people to be their natural best, displaying vulnerability and asking for help when they need it builds on the strength and potential of individuals and teams.

We've created new Tools focussing on ways to build trust and the importance of self-trust. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

At AccessEAP, we work hard to ensure we are trusted to provide confidential support in a safe environment where people can be their authentic self and ask for help without fear of judgement. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

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Career Transition and Redundancy Support

It is an unfortunate part of the current economic situation that difficult decisions relating to redundancies may need to be made. Redundancies often cause anxiety and uncertainty. How your organisation handles redundancy can send a powerful message on how you value your people. At AccessEAP, we recognise the difficulties faced at this time and can support you to lead your people through change with respect and compassion.

Right now, those facing redundancy and job loss are particularly vulnerable as they may already be experiencing a household with reduced income and mental health issues related to the pandemic. Combine this with potentially restricted job opportunities, and people may need additional support to get them into a position where they feel more confident to prepare for a new job opportunity or search.

Our Career Transition and Redundancy Support services help people deal with change, position them to thrive in the future and offer practical support so that they feel more confident to enter the job market.

In the Employer Login Area of our website you will find details on our Career Transition and Redundancy services. Please feel free to contact your Realtionship Manager for more information or to discuss these services in greater detail concerning your specific needs.

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Navigating Change - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

The amount and pace of change in the world is accelerating. Every leadership book talks about how the pace of change will continue to increase, and organisations who do not embrace change will be left behind. This is also true for those of us who have transitioned to working from home at a rapid rate. Now almost all people that we talk to can log onto a Zoom session and speak to their doctor via the phone.

As leaders, we need to think about our own responses to change and our employee's responses, and plan for both. There are change management courses and consultants for a reason, and that is because change is hard. We are told communicate your vision, communicate the changes and to take employees on a journey – all great advice – but most people think "what does the change mean for me?" and that will dictate their response. How we as leaders respond to their response will impact on how successfully the change is negotiated.

In organisations, the landscape is constantly evolving so we use change management models to create, plan out and communicate our vision to adapt to developing markets or new regulations. Steven Covey, of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote that we need to "Begin with the end in mind" but I would add that we need to be ready to pivot in the face of developments and redesign the plan, reconsider what that 'end' goal looks like. Being fast and flexible is more than ever, a key component of change as organisations and employees are being asked to reconsider what normality is on a daily basis. At AccessEAP, we increased our Executive Leadership Huddles to daily briefs at the height of the pandemic to allow for this fast and flexible approach.

While we know that communication is always key to effective management, we have heard the stories where organisations faced restructures or changing markets but didn't see the staff as the first port of call. Effective change management requires you to be the information conduit, understand the vision and why it is required, and ensuring that everyone involved has a comprehensive picture of where you are all heading.

As leaders, we have responsibilities to our own managers, boards and shareholders, so they need to know where we are moving our organisation. They pay the piper, and so of course we need to show them how their investment is moving to the most secure and profitable future. But our biggest investment is the people on who we rely on to be on this journey with us.

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Self-Care and Managing Stress

See our 10 Tips on Self-care and Managing Stress below. 

It is important to remember that feeling anxious, fearful, stressed, angry or irritable are common and normal feelings during uncertain times like these. It is important to monitor your own physical and mental health.

For assistance or more information on our Stress Awareness and Building Resilience Training offerings, speak with your Relationship Manager today. To download a copy of this Wellbeing Postcard and more visit the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

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Movember Conversations

 

This November it's time to talk about Men's Health. The Movember Foundation is taking a stand to Tackle Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Mental Health And Suicide Prevention. To challenge the stigma of Mental Health they encourage everyone to have a conversation, just remember to use ALEC.

  • ASK
  • LISTEN
  • ENCOURAGE ACTION
  • CHECK-IN 

Click here for more information about Movember and how to get involved.

We often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and “get on with it”. Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.

Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:

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2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar

Updated 6Mth Planner

The way the world looked to us when we created the 2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is a different place to where we are now. In response, we created a 6Mth Planner for you and your people. The 6Mth Planner focuses on building resilience in your workforce and supporting the performance of your people. 

As we continue through 2020, check out our Wellbeing in Focus Calendar. 

The AccessEAP Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is a great way to plan monthly activity around the areas that may be of particular importance to your organisation while making sure you are aware of a wider range of topics. Our 6 Month Planner gives a great overview while the quarterly themes help you to deliver information in manageable parts, highlighting importance and focusing attention.

Our 2020 Wellbeing in Focus Calendar is available through the Employer Login Area of the AccessEAP website.

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Supporting Working Parents

During the pandemic, we have been given insights into so many previously unseen lives. There have been stories in the media of frontline workers carrying on in the face of real adversity. We have seen leaders struggle and the mask covered faces of people trying to keep their businesses, families and way of life going in some form. We have seen a little or in some cases a whole lot more into the lives of our people. From the tech-savvy who entertain us with their everchanging exotic or fanciful backgrounds to the unashamed pyjama or tracksuit wearing team members with a pet on their lap. Whatever we see, it's what we hear that provides a fuller picture, the voices of young children or the excited bark of a dog who has decided its always time for a walk.

We all have lives outside of work, people who depend on us, whether it be partners, children, older parents or close friends and family, they demand our attention and can give us a great deal of worry as well as a great deal of joy. This week we turn our spotlight to supporting the mental health of working parents or caregivers and the children they care for.

Although there is a sense of so many people being affected by the pandemic in so many different ways, the mental health and wellbeing of children and teens is something that has been given significant media coverage. It is the subject of research projects across the globe, in Australia one such survey found that up to 10% of the children of the 700 families surveyed may need support for anxiety and depression. The other side of that is a positive story 80% of the children were found to have good mental and emotional health.1

Supporting your people who have caregiver responsibilities is not always easy, particularly when we are managing the economic and social constraints of government restrictions put in place to protect the community.  We've created tools to provide some practical ways for you as leaders to support working parents and for parents to help their children, particularly teens as many of the nation's 17-18 year-olds face their final exams. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

As we continue to focus on Mental Health this month, I encourage you to share your experiences in supporting parents and caregivers with us. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

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Keeping Mentally Healthy

We’re well and truly into Mental Health Awareness Month, and continuing the fantastic conversations from R U OK? Day. It’s easy to focus on one day as it focuses our attention. It can be less easy when we try and keep the conversation going over a month, as the day to day demands on our attention start to take up more of our minds.  

This week we’d like to invite all of us to take a moment to rebuild and reinvest in our mental health and wellbeing.

As our personal circumstances continue to evolve through the pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to doing things in certain ways. These coping behaviours have served us well. Will they continue to be the best way to support our mental health and wellbeing as we move into a future where movement, border and travel restrictions no longer impact us? How can we take the best of our coping behaviours to grow into our future? What are the things you would like to see your people and teams carry with them in the future?

We've created new Tips and Tools on Supporting yourself and others and Keeping Mentally Healthy. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website. 

We need to keep the conversation about Mental Health going. We know it isn’t easy, but we are here to support you and your people. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

 

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Look after your Mental Health

 

 

1 in 5 of us experience a mental health issue every year. Mental Health Awareness Month in October is an opportunity for us to advocate for and raise awareness of mental health. With the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the lives of our communities, it’s time to give mental health the focus and attention it deserves.

Organisations that create and harbour a culture of understanding, empathy and trust allow people to be open about the issues impacting their lives. And it is especially important for people with mental health conditions to feel safe and comfortable in discussing their experience and obtaining appropriate support. Please contact your Relationship Manager to discuss what Mental Health Awareness options we have to support you and your people.

For more information and tips on How to Improve Mental Health in the Workplace, click here.

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Exploring Positive Psychology - a message from Sally Kirkright, CEO AccessEAP

Throughout this year, we have been bombarded with messages from the media and on social media relating to the pandemic. One common message that stood out was to "be grateful for what you have during these times". It can be incredibly difficult to do this when COVID-19 has taken so much in terms of removing us from a physical workplace, travel and family dinners. To explore this perspective, our clinicians here at AccessEAP have turned to the research of Positive Psychology. This has assisted us to discuss situations from a strengths-based lens. The approach, which has been around for decades but is starting to gain momentum, doesn't focus on the sickness or ill health of the individual but rather on their wellbeing. This allows for a shift in perspective.

Positive psychology shifts the focus from anger, depression, fear and jealousy to look at what makes us well: motivation, forgiveness, resilience and compassion. Here is a telling quote from George Valliant, one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, where he describes The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry.1 It has '500,000 lines of text [with] thousands of lines on anxiety and depression, and hundreds of lines on terror, shame, guilt, anger, and fear. But there are only five lines on hope, one line on joy, and not a single line on compassion, forgiveness, or love." In a pandemic where humanity is still prevailing, despite the whole world being encouraged to stay indoors, looking for and finding hope is even more important.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. This means that for one month mental health is in focus in the media and the recent budget increase in Medicare support for additional sessions and resources into community mental health, highlights the increase in demand for support which has increased due to the pandemic. Over the last ten years of leading the AccessEAP team, I can see a positive change in many community leaders, customer organisations and most recently the federal budget, recognising that mental health is important to the future of our country. It is, according to the World Health Organisation "a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."2 An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

The question for many individuals, organisations and the general community is how is mental health maintained? One of the most concise models of positive psychology was developed by Martin Seligman called PERMA3. The backbone of this theory is that individuals (and organisations, groups and even families) understand, develop and work/live within their signature strengths. PERMA stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments. PERMA allows for the individual to take their own steps and manage their own wellbeing and can be measured to show growth and success.

Feedback from managers, leaders and even friends and family have asked what role can I play in supporting people around me? On the back of R U OK? Day and now in Mental Health Awareness Month, the answer is about knowledge and empowering oneself to have conversations which are caring and supportive.

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Maintaining a Positive Outlook

Kicking off mental health month, we wanted to take the time for a refresher on maintaining a positive outlook – or at least a balanced outlook. There are a lot of negative stories in the media at the moment and uncertainty about what the future holds. Even when we hear good news such as the easing of restrictions in Victoria, we can't help but feel the sting of what has been lost. Can you easily name something positive that has happened in your work or life this week?

The ability to find balance in our thoughts and feelings is a skill that can be learnt and strengthened. Positive thinking can reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of depression; however, it isn't about forcing a smile no matter what. Positive thinking benefits us because it relies on maintaining both an optimistic and realistic mindset using your strengths and working through challenges with greater optimism than pessimism.

This week we turn our spotlight on maintaining a positive outlook.

We have created two new strategies and tips, and a gentle reminder to make use of the resources available in your state or territory to mark Mental Health Week or Month. How can we, as leaders, model a balanced approach to support positivity as we face constant change and challenges? Our personal and leader tools give you some tips on how to help build these skills in your team. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Positivity can help us to move forward in many situations but not all. We are here to support you and your people no matter the nature of your concerns. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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The 'new normal' is really anything but

Published in The Canberra Times 8th October 2020

The new normal "has become a universal term defining the hope that we will return to a pre-COVID-19 existence, or at least a sense of normality. However, for workplaces and their employees, the truth is that we must prepare not for a "new normal" but for continued unpredictability and a new, abnormal life.,” Sally Kirkright, CEO at AccessEAP.

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Navigating Conflict

It’s tough to always be your best. Now more than ever the challenge to constantly be our best as leaders, lead with kindness, empathy and respect and respond in ways that support others can tax even the most resilient of us. It’s easy when emotions are heightened to react in ways we usually wouldn’t, as we have a million different things running around our heads. It’s easy to say something that might be misinterpreted or rub someone up the wrong way. It’s equally as easy to interpret something in a way that wasn’t intended. Conflict is a normal part of life, and very often a catalyst for positive change. It is also part of being human.

This week we’re turning our spotlight onto conflict.

How can we harness conflict and foster positive outcomes? Our clinical data shows an increase in conflict – at home, at work and in the community. It’s completely understandable as many people across Australia and New Zealand have had their lives and workspaces closed, changed completely or even remain open serving the public throughout the pandemic. Some people report feeling burnt out or struggling to keep their emotional balance. Some of us desperately want our lives or daily routine back to return to normal. Conflict can often be found during times of change.

How can you harness conflict in positive ways? How we, as leaders, respond to conflict is critical to supporting your people and their responses to conflict. We've created new Tips and Tools on Navigating Conflict. Find our wide range of Leader Tools and Personal Tools, in the Employer and Employee Login Areas of our website.

Navigating conflict can be challenging. We are here to support you through this. Reach out to here at AccessEAP. As always, our people are here to help support you and your people be their best in life and work.

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AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
.

indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.