While the world’s media focuses on the shocking activities of Anders Behring Breivik and their effect on the people who died, those who escaped, their families and friends, little is being said about the people who were directly involved in responding to the incident and rebuilding the country’s reputation: paramedics, police, decision-makers and leaders including Norway’s prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and the King and Queen of Norway.
What has been said has been extremely critical – specifically of the time it took the Norwegian police to arrive on Utoya, the island where so many young people were killed. Anger is a natural response to bereavement and, in dramatic and unpredictable incidents such as this, it is expected. It is essential, therefore, to be prepared for it – and to cope with that anger while you are also facing a trauma (finding and dealing with the bodies as well supporting and rescuing the distressed people who survived).
The same is true of the paramedics who were called to the scene. Their job means they are constantly under stress – ready to race to someone whose life is at risk, applying knowledge accurately at speed, making quick judgements, giving life-saving advice and treatment. And they face traumas day in and day out as they deal with the sad and tragic outcomes of their work.
Police and paramedics receive intensive training that includes building their resilience so they are better able to cope with stress and trauma. But it is impossible to predict whether an incident will prove too much to cope with and, if a person does reach their coping capacity, when it will happen. Offering support to people in stressful or trauma-filled jobs will reduce the time they are absent from work, help them return to peak performance, and rebuild their resilience.
People who cannot face returning to work might also need help to rebuild their confidence and self-esteem so they can find other work or cope with a life without work.
In addition, some people might be able to cope with the effects of stress and trauma while at work – but find that it is affecting their personal relationships and self-esteem or causing anxiety, addictions, eating disorders. And that could, in turn, begin to have an impact on their performance at work.
As for the prime minister and the king and queen, all leadership roles involve dealing with stress. Making decisions that impact on others, responding to crises, ordering actions or inaction, taking the responsibility and the flak – all require resilience. And they need to make these difficult decisions while remaining outwardly calm and in control. People in positions of authority at the top of organisations also need to build resilience so they can manage their stress, spot stress in others and minimise its impact on the business by offering training or support.
Finally, it isn’t only people who are connected with a traumatic incident who can be affected by it. People not there at the time might identify with aspects of it – or feel more vulnerable as a result. It is important for businesses to be aware of the potential psychological effects on others – and to offer them support and resilience training.
If you or your staff need to manage stress and cope with trauma, or are under-performing or absent because of the effects of stress or trauma, do consider providing courses that build resilience or professional psychotherapeutic support to bring them back up to peak performance. We provide training, coaching, mentoring and counselling specifically geared to people at work who face stress and trauma – including EMDR which is recognised by NICE as particularly effective for treating trauma. Do get in touch.
29/07/2011 | Posted in Trauma, Stress, Resilience, Presenteeism, Performance, Leadership, Counselling, Confidence, Coaching, Absenteeism,
Picture the scene: it’s your regular office meeting; the agenda includes sensitive issues, discussions will be detailed and probably contentious; someone will blow their top. If they don’t explode with anger during the meeting, there are likely to be hot-headed discussions afterwards, whether between two protagonists or by drawing more people in support of, or against, the proposition.
Some of your colleagues will retreat, avoiding conflict at all costs; others will give in to unreasonable demands, for a quiet life; sparks will fly between some; sarcasm will spill from the quicker-witted or sharper-tongued; some might resort to swearing or shouting; doors might slam, desks might be thumped – and so might people; a few will shrug or laugh it off; one or two will deftly defuse the tricky situation using calm, diplomatic words and finding amicable solutions.
The effect of anger – and the effect of anticipating it – can have far-reaching ramifications, seriously affecting people at work, reducing their morale, performance and effectiveness (driving them home or to drink or drugs, or into eating disorders or addiction) and affecting the success of the business.
How do you manage anger, whether you are the one who is dishing it out or if you are on the receiving end? What’s the best course of action in either case – and how do you achieve it?
Anger has its ramifications but it would be wrong to see it only as a cause. It is a symptom. There is always a reason why anger is triggered – long-standing disappointments or resentments; frustration; grief (of a person, or loss of a job or status); stress (from having too much to do, or not enough); being held back or unsupported; promotion to an unmanageable level; unachievable demands. It can also be a side-effect of drugs, or of medical or physical conditions such as depression, pre-menstrual tension or the menopause. Exploring the route that leads to the root of its cause is essential if it is to be managed successfully to reduce its impact on the performance of individuals and teams as well as on the organisation and business.
Anger management counselling is increasingly used at work – one to one and in groups, for individuals or teams. Exploring the reasons for the anger, helping individuals deal with their angry feelings in a constructive, rather than destructive, way, or showing how anger can be useful when it is channelled towards a positive outcome can help reduce the occurrence of anger and its effects.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can be a particularly effective form of anger management counselling. It helps individuals recognise the thoughts that trigger the anger and, because it is a practical therapy, learn to change their thinking patterns and therefore their behaviour. It might also be necessary to use other therapies – providing what is best for each individual or depending on the situation.
If you would like advice on how to minimise the effects of anger in your workplace, do get in touch. We will help you identify what is needed, for individuals and for the business; advise you on practices and policies to adopt for the longer term; and provide the most appropriate professional support and guidance for each individual or situation.
16/05/2011 | Posted in Absenteeism, Conflict, Counselling, Morale, Performance, Stress, Success,
03/09/2010 | Posted in Stress, Resilience, Leadership, Bullying,
We also provide Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), Counselling, Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR), Emotional freedom technique (EFT), Existential counselling, Gestalt therapy, Humanistic psychotherapy, Hypno-birthing, Hypnotherapy, Integrative counselling, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Person-centred counselling, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytical therapy, Psychodynamic therapy and Sensorimotor psychotherapy services.Read more
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