Time to pull your head out of the sand

by Therese Johansson

I sat in a reception room and waited for the doctor to deliver my "sentence". He was silent for a long time, then he turned and said; "It's your choice, but if you don't change your behavior, a stroke could be the reason we meet next time..." That sentence was enough of a slap in the face to force me to pull my head out of the sand and accept the challenge. I am incredibly grateful for that doctor's brutal honesty, without it I might not have started my tough journey.

Experience creates wisdom

What I learned on my development journey was my responsibility as a person and employee. I had to get to the bottom of what it was in my behavior that caused the exhaustion. I worked in a well-tuned organization with developed leadership. Unfortunately, the company and I did not share the same values.

Lesson number 1. I also had too low a degree of self-worth, which meant that I did not set the necessary limits for how much I was able to deliver at such a high pace.

Lesson number 2. I am an achiever, which made me push myself over the limit, without prioritizing my well-being and sustainability.

Lesson number 3. I felt that I was "gossiping" and that I was not strong enough to handle the situation if, for example, I went to my manager when I felt that I was being treated unfairly or subjected to abusive treatment, Lesson number 4. By developing my individual leadership, I have gained the necessary wisdom, this means that today I am a much better leader both for myself, as well as for others.

Teamwork is the key

It is important that we create an organization with a developed and competent leadership that promotes trust and builds trust capital in order to get our employees to ask for help at the right time. It is also important that we help our employees in their personal development so that they take their employee responsibility and have the courage to ask for help. It is when the teamwork between employees and leaders works that we can actually get our organizational and social work environment in order. It is not possible to achieve a good tango if your partner does not offer to dance.

The Norwegian Working Environment Agency has very good guidance on the organizational and social work environment, where it is written about unhealthy workloads, abusive discrimination and destructive conflicts. I warmly recommend everyone to read this regulation.

The hard values in work environment are easier to take because it can create physical ailments if we do not correct what is wrong. The softer factors require extensive competence about human capital and if you don't have that, it can feel uncomfortable as a leader to handle and sort out these issues.

Inspiring example

I want to mention a very fine example of a really wonderful team game between leaders and employees. It was in a company that I was part of and developed both leadership and employeeship. The employee had some of the behavior patterns I mentioned above, as well as a very challenging work situation.

This employee also had a very confident and competent leader, so it was easy for me to "push" the employee to dare to challenge his self-worth and ask for help. Together, the manager and the employee came up with several fantastic measures that eased the employee's situation and the work could be completed with a much better result than if the employee had remained alone. By making the leader aware of the problem, he was able to move resources in his business and thus get the right staffing in the right place. The leader also invested in the "Individual Leadership" program to ensure the employee's continued well-being and potential development. This is a lovely example that I am proud to tell about to inspire more companies to understand the importance of investing in soft values and thus ensure profitability.

Now go from words to action

In order to work in accordance with the regulations and policies that we create in the companies, we need to realize that it is work where we need to develop and include; leadership, teamwork and teamwork. This is so that together we can make these regulations work in reality. It is those who work in the daily operations who hold one of the keys in the search for the answer to the question "how".