Psychological Trauma

Many of us are familiar with the term Trauma. We hear it mentioned in relation to the exceptional work undertaken by doctors and nurses up and down the country who help to rebuild lives after a distressing event such as a car accident, stabbing or physical injury. We are also familiar with the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This term became well known as we begun to learn more about the stories of brave members of the armed forces who need help to recover following experiences on the front line.

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Psychological Safety

The concept of Psychological Safety is surfacing increasingly in our work. People learn and perform best when they feel psychologically safe. In environments where one feels unsure or hesitant about suggesting or trying new ideas, we find that learning and creativity become suppressed. Psychological safety in individuals has been defined as an employee’s sense of being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences.

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The Gender Pay Gap: It’s Not Just About The Money.

Over the course of each year, various HR themes become hot topics. One such theme is the gender pay gap. As we know, the headlines are that UK companies with 250 or more employees must publish their gender pay gap data by April 2018 or the end of March for the public sector. It is well publicised that some sectors have a bigger gap than others. For example, recent University audits indicate a pay disparity of more than 20 per cent. The BBC has made its own publicity about its quandary.

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Helen Robinsonconfl
The Second Victim

 A few years ago, I was invited to mediate in a case where two female Consultants from an Acute Trust had fallen out. Both Consultants had been drafted in to help at a local hospice. There was a dispute about the handover process from one Consultant Sarah, to the other, Eva. Somehow, Eva who had just started her shift hadn’t registered that 67-year old Mr. Smith was allergic to morphine despite his notes indicating this.

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Sleep and conflict: A time to prescribe workplace mediation in the NHS?

Sleep deprivation is affecting an increasing number of people who are embroiled in conflict. I recently asked 72 people who had been engaged in the process of workplace mediation in the NHS on a one-to-one or team basis about the impact of conflict on their sleep. An overwhelming number of 64 commented that their sleep had been affected in a moderate or significant way. One person from the North chose to use his periods of insomnia to send emails to colleagues at 3.00am voicing his discontent with how he felt he had been treated. The business case for workplace mediation in the NHS has suddenly been bolstered.

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Helen RobinsonMediations
Lumina Psychometric Tool

During the summer of 2016, I trained to become a Practitioner of the Lumina Psychometric tool. A CEO has recently used the tool as part of a recruitment process and has been suitably impressed at how it helped him to make a better-informed appointment. Based on the ‘Big 5’ and the best of ‘Jung’, the Lumina tool is unique because it avoids stereotyping whilst communicating personal preferences using memorable colours. It is excellent for gaining an insight into how one might work effectively with others. Think Myers Briggs plus!

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Before I get to the text about the main subject of this missive, a relatively new term emerged to the public this week. The term is ‘callous unemotional traits’. This is the term that psychiatrists give to a set of symptoms that they see in some children – children who go on to be over-represented in prison populations and sometimes, in extreme cases, become what we call ‘psychopaths’.

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Talent and genius

I have been reading about talent and genius over the last month. Both the New Scientist and National Geographic magazines have focused on these themes recently. One of the most interesting aspects is that many of those we refer to as having huge talent or being a genius (e.g. Einstein, Edison, Newton) have many similarities. Men of European origin. The stereotypes endure. A study published by Science found that girls as young as age six, are less likely than boys to say that members of their gender are ‘really, really smart’. Even worse, the study found that girls act on that belief and begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are ‘really, really smart’.

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Helen RobinsonCareer
Employment Tribunal Fees Judgment July 2017

About four years ago, I was invited by the Department for Business to think through the potential ramifications of reforming the Employment Tribunal Court service. This included the provision to speak to Acas prior to lodging a claim, and the introduction of tribunal fees. Yesterday, in one of the most significant employment law decisions for fifty years, we learned that the Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful because they have the effect of preventing access to justice.

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Chronic Embitterment

Some of you will have heard me speak on the topic of chronic embitterment. Embitterment is an emotion encompassing persistent feelings of being let down, insulted, being a loser and being revengeful but helpless (Linden, M 2003).  I am seeing more and more aspects of chronic embitterment surfacing in organisations. It is often played out as a reaction to bullying, harassment or breaches of equality. Embitterment usually stems from a series of events rather than a one-off isolated event as originally thought in early research.

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The Paradox of Success

Did you know:

  • James Dyson built 5127 prototypes before succeeding with what we now know as the cyclone vacuum. On average, just 100 prototypes were built by other manufacturers
  • David Beckham could do 50 ‘keepy-uppies’ at age 6; by age 9 he could do 2003
  • Michael Jordan famously told how he missed more than 900 shots in his career
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Helen RobinsonCareer
The ‘gig’ economy

Taking care of your career these days is an ongoing relentless requirement. Your organisation will keep reshaping itself to fit our rapidly changing world. It is the only way to survive in this fiercely competitive environment. Of course, in so many cases, we compete with and against the world, not just the UK. Your organisation may merge, restructure, downsize or form new alliances and partnerships. There is a high chance you may not like some or all of this. In many ways, what you think is irrelevant. Resistance to change is almost always a dead-end street. Success comes when you align with the direction of travel.

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Helen RobinsonCareer
Overcoming setbacks and building resilience

Clive Lewis Announcement 

Setbacks. We all have them. I remember being turned down for five HR director jobs before one finally landed. In one case I was even flown to an interview in Missouri, US, only to discover the day after I got back that I hadn’t been successful. The thing about setbacks, failures and being turned down is that they only represent a brief moment in time. Thinking back, I see now that at least one or two of the jobs I applied for wouldn’t have been right for me.

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Fear at work

There is an increasing body of evidence indicating that a number of us are fearful at work. For clarity, I am not referring to egrophobia which relates to the fear of work. Let me explain. Over the last few years, workplaces have experienced significant levels of turbulence. Much of this was brought on by the recession and led to organisations having to move into ‘survival’ mode.

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Helen RobinsonCareer
The future of work

I read a great article in the Financial Times, the day after this year’s budget. One of the aspects covered was how the world of work is changing. The article predicted the future of work in 2025 and gave a prediction of roles that will still exist, will have declined or will be increasingly popular. By the way I was interviewed for a finance magazine feature recently. If you haven’t already seen it, please click here to do so (I’m on the front cover and on page 23).

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What is conflict?

Imagine these scenarios.

Scenario 1

A single man (Brian) accepts an overseas assignment with his employer and has to relocate. He travels to his new country of residence and begins to look for suitable accommodation. He spends a weekend viewing over ten properties and is traumatised by the fact that he can’t decide which one to go for. He loses sleep over the next few days as he agonises over the decision that he has to give his employer in the next 72 hours.

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Vicarious liability

Before I get to the missive, please join us at our next 1 day Difficult Conversations open course on 6 April in Central London or our 5 day accredited workplace mediation course on 11-13 and 19-20 May, again in Central London.

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