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I really haven’t felt like saying this in a fair while, so to put it down in words obviously means something has changed. This week has been a good week. I mean a really good week.

Good, not so much for what’s been produced workwise or on the home front, though I’ve had my moments, but in terms of realising I’ve had a period where I’ve been saying I’m fine in the usual pleasantries, when actually it’s been a bloody hard slog and I probably haven’t been fine.

I’ve noticed things this week that made me realise I’ve got my mojo back, which is good.

In a nutshell, being in Paris the weekend of the terrorist attacks in November and uncertainty of a never ending work restructure had combined to make me not fine. They had clearly knocked my confidence more than I thought; perhaps more than was a healthy situation and stripped away all the stuff that normally makes me me. But, we all have stuff to deal with so this post is about the good things that made this week, the week I realised I’m alright.

Firstly a social care staff event and then reading an honest, reflective blog about life in local gov communications gave me a kick up the rear.

At the latest Leeds City Council adult social care staff event, time was made for people to discuss the changing nature of social work, including what a ‘good life’ might mean for staff in their own lives and then to relate that to how shared decision making might increasingly play a part in helping people they work with have better outcomes.

This opportunity also encouraged staff to think about and share unwise decisions they had made in their lives and consider the implications they had on themselves and others. The context was in relation to a call to action around the Mental Capacity Act with the idea for staff in health and social care settings to consider the types of decisions they can and have made that ultimately did not lead to their capacity being questioned. The focus is on the principle that we should not assume because a decision is unwise, that the person making it does not have capacity.

Quite deep stuff but made much easier by relating it to a personal level. I really like things that include the ‘people like yourself’ approach.

“A ‘person like yourself’ builds trust – so we need to promote the voices and empower those engaged in frontline services”

That’s a quote from another thought provoking blog I recently read. There’s more here on that from Paul Taylor.

I’ve been to many staff engagement events so it was good to see this approach in action and creating time for people to air their thoughts and concerns. Whilst not a direct participant this time, which sometimes helps in my job as a communicator in seeing how things are going from a distance, this was the first event where I’ve sensed real enthusiasm in the discussion and I really believe it was because people were being asked to relate something personal, and how they could bring that into consideration when working with others. There was much laughter too and some honest admissions to some unwise personal decisions made in the past.

Work needs to be fun and rewarding too, especially to be able to do the work that social workers and other frontline staff do. Hats off to them.

That event made me reflect a lot, especially on the personal approach used and made me realise that Paris and the ongoing restructure had stopped me doing the personal stuff I normally do.

Then the blog post here by Emma Rodgers, Head of Comms at Stoke City Council also made me reflect. It mentions many things that resonate about working for a council and increasingly tough as it sometimes is, like Emma says it’s still a great place to work. We have the potential to make massive differences to people’s lives, especially if we get the ‘person like myself’ bit right.

Emma talks about how relationships matter and that networks and peer support makes a huge difference in supporting us to do our jobs. Her post reminded me that I benefit hugely from networks and peers and hopefully contribute back, including this post so that others who may not be totally fine might also recognise it and do something about it.

I’ve been a big advocate in supporting and promoting people bringing and sharing their personal experiences into their work and in making a difference to how our organisations are. This week I have noticed an increasing amount of people who are doing that and how their efforts are appreciated by others and how they seem to be the ones who get stuff done. Long may it continue.

So thanks to Emma and Paul and all who share a little bit of themselves in their work for the benefit of others.

 

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