Start with you

I am a member of the #MSEBuddyNetwork at work, a group of staff who are here to listen and support colleagues. Whilst I was on leave last week I missed out on the session about Respect. Thankfully the slides and supporting documents are circulated afterwards so I was able to catch up on the conversation.

One of the supporting documents circulated was 30 Tips For Respect. A matrix of ideas to help put into focus what we should be thinking about with regards to respecting others. Tip 1 was entitled Start with You and went on to describe that you should reflect on how you see others and how others see you. This got me thinking about a piece of work I’d done during my Masters on What is it Like to be on the Receiving End of Me?

I tried to find the relevant documents that I’d collected and written at the time but I must have put them somewhere very safe and forgotten where.

Anyway, this was pulled in to very sharp focus during a conversation I had with a member of my staff. We have had to instigate shift patterns since the start of distancing restrictions as I have 66 staff crammed into a small space. In order to keep them socially distanced I can only have half of them in at any one time. Over time this has started to cause problems with people’s mental and physical health and some have been referred for support. The advice that they had been given contradicts the regulations of social distancing and therefore it has not been possible to act on some of that advice. The person I was speaking to was having a hard time understanding why she couldn’t revert to her previous hours and that it seemed that I, as the manager, didn’t seem to understand what people were thinking. We had a really good honest and frank chat about what I have been doing to try to get their issues and working arrangements sorted and she acknowledged that she felt better for having had the conversation with me. She then said “you need to tell everyone what you’ve just told me, it doesn’t matter that it’s still not resolved and you haven’t got all the answers, but people would feel better knowing that something was actually being escalated”.

I thanked her for her honesty and said that I would reflect on what she’d said but that I wasn’t going to rush straight in now. I would give the matter further thought but have said that if she feels others would feel better for knowing more about what I’ve been doing and escalating with senior managers and directors then I will do that.

It was a great example of listening to and respecting others’ needs and reflecting on my own behaviours and what its like to be on the receiving end of me.


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