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Unaddressed workplace stress is an organizational risk in and of itself, regardless of the cause. It is compounded when internal and external changes occur, and the organization is perpetually in a reactive “clean up on aisle 12” mode. However, if the organization implements an effective, adaptive, and sustainable company-wide Readiness, Responsiveness and Resiliency program, they are much better equipped during stressful times of change and when a crisis arises seemingly out of nowhere.
Change will always be a constant, whether we want it or not. The role of ethical and adaptive leadership is to be able to engage in a broad, Big Picture vision and approach to identify the types of stressors that could arise, and possess the clarity of mind and heart to non-reactively respond to and navigate its way through and past the often unforeseeable setbacks and challenges that comes its way preceding, during and after change with courage, grace and equanimity within every sphere of influence it has. This includes facilitating a safe and humane workplace culture environment of integrity that provides a context for all employees to fearlessly and openly talk about issues and problems, contribute ideas, and proactively address the types of stresses that comes along with it without fear of negative repercussions.
Disruptive change like what was experienced on a global scale during the COVID-19 pandemic raises the stakes on all the above. How all stakeholders make their way collectively through the transitions that result from disruption has a direct impact on outcomes - including all the various areas of risk to an organization that stubbornly refuses to admit what it has been doing isn't working.
An integrated and holistic, systems-thinking approach is required to move from awareness and ownership of the root causes of internal and external organizational stressors, and from there implementing actionable, creative problem-solving strategies to achieve lasting workplace cohesion, harmony and the genuine expression, championing and modeling of its stated values, mission, desired impact and intended success.
Because change is inherently "messy" and challenging at best and resistance to it is a powerful force, a thorough needs analysis, guidance, and appropriate training and education is required to upgrade an organization's internal operating system. Actualizing the above goals is often best served by professionals from outside the organization who have the objectivity and unobstructed vantage point necessary to undertake a wide-lensed, comprehensive and non-biased analysis of the organization's unique needs and the risks inherent in continuing to run the old status quo practices, operations, decision processes and behaviors that impede the above - yet myopically expecting different results.
Effective and sustainable Professional Learning, Development, Change and Growth consultation, training and educational services must also concurrently extend beyond the workplace and into our personal lives to fully embrace a "whole systems" methodology that empowers each of us to choose to possess the clarity of mind and heart to non-reactively respond to and navigate our way through and past the often unforeseeable setbacks and challenges that come our way preceding, during and after change with courage, grace and equanimity within every sphere of influence we have.