Data is interesting – analysis is powerful
There is a piece of analysis I am doing at the moment. I am examining why we are experiencing a significant spike in the number of mediations being commissioned. Specifically, many of these relate to cases where individuals are off work or have recently returned from absence due to stress. The analysis is indicating a trend where one’s relationship with their line manager is highlighted as the primary reason for absence. To go one level further, the way in which their line managers speaks to them or treats them is a significant factor. I recall in one case many years ago, a successful negotiation of a return to work for someone who had been off for five and-a-half months. The mediation session started at 10.00am and was over before 4.00pm. Another reason why I am so passionate about mediation. For many cases, it’s a no-brainer. For reasons of confidentiality, I will stop short of providing specific examples of recent cases in this written synopsis.
The last few months has prompted me to think about the role of the line manager and how she or he might recognise the ‘power’ they have. An advert I remember from years ago featured the American sprinter and my cousin Carl Lewis. (He isn’t really my cousin – I just made that bit up but I’d be rich now if I had a pound for the number of times I am called Carl, instead of Clive). Back to the advert. He is pictured in the starting blocks position. He is attired in traditional running gear with the exception of a pair of red high heel stilettos. You can see a copy of the image here. For clarity, it wasn’t the stilettos that I was attracted to per se, it was the wording on the poster which read ‘Power is nothing without control’.
As I know only too well from the type of job I do, there are of course, always two sides to a story. For example, a manager might want to address issues relating to poor performance and in doing so will speak their mind. My point however is that millions of work days are lost every year due to line manager/direct report interactions. To refer back to my analysis briefly again for a moment, newly appointed line managers seem to be struggling with some of the most basic requirements of managing people. I encourage all organisations to introduce a prerequisite for new supervisors/line managers to attend a course on people management on appointment if you don’t do this already. So, I am quickly running out of my self-imposed word limit but hopefully you get the point…
Finally, I am now off for the whole of August. I made this point in my last missive and received many comments of disbelief. My children have told me where they want to go and we have a plan for the whole month. Let’s see how it goes. Having written a book on Work-Life Balance, it is only right that I attempt to practice what I preach!
By the way, last week I was sent a link to a leadership video which I think is very good indeed. It covers 4 levels of leadership and runs for just over 12 minutes. If you have time, take a look. It was sent to me by a Chief Exec of a Hospital. I don’t know Colin Price, who is featured, but I do like the content. See what you think….
Incidentally, I have started to write a new book on Workplace and Employment Mediation. It is due to be published in July 2015. More details will follow.
Until next month….