“Well, I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen,
Pour myself a cup of ambition, Yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Jump in the shower, and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street, the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5”~Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 released in 1980. This song received a Grammy for the best country song, and she received a Grammy for the best female performance. The song has gone on to produce a movie, musicals, and so much more!
Going to work each day can be redundant. People can feel isolated. So many other issues, and problems come to mind when I think of all of the issues we face today in our work environments. It seems just getting to work; we may be dodging bullets (literally), arrows, and fear to get through or out of the door to begin our work day.
When I write about dodging bullets today, I can mean literally as our world has turned the corner in becoming more violent with the rise of crime. Neighborhoods and cities which were safe are now becoming unsafe. However, it was not my intent to speak about the increased crime but the trauma behind dodging bullets.
Trauma is more than dodging bullets. The phrase, “I dodged a bullet today,” means you escaped a bad situation or something that would cause harm to you. Many individuals around us, or even ourselves, are dodging bullets daily, weekly, or monthly. The circumstances are different for each of us, but the reality is reflected in the environment we all share. Recovering from a global pandemic, higher costs for everything we need, shortages of products, a rise in crime, and the unknowns.
As leaders, we must consider dodging bullets with our staff and arrange a time to address ways to find support solutions.
Arrows have sharp points and are shot to have a direct hit at the bullseye. My husband is a great shot! So are those who shoot targeted arrows of negativity at their co-workers. The craft of arrow shooting is spot on when a toxic environment exists within your culture. Individuals have practiced arrow shooting for a long time.
Toxic cultures begin with one. Once they have achieved the arrow shooting with precision with no repercussions, others notice and start to join because of fear. This is when the toxic culture grows, and fear sets in as others remain quiet.
As leaders, we must recognize when these sharp points begin to surface and address them by reminding staff of our core values and beliefs.
Did you know fear is how people can control you? Fear is an emotion. It is our most powerful emotion and is our defense mechanism. When you are told something over and over, shown something repeatedly and when people you feel are in leadership positions tell you something, fear begins to take hold. Now they have power over you.
Bullying is like this for children. I often tell children and teachers not to give away their power. Power is what everyone seeks. There are lots of steps to take when dealing with bullying, but ultimately it is about placing fear to gain control over you. Children also like to see how far they can go in the classroom to gain more power as well. Why have the power struggle?
We all have fear; it is an emotion to warn us of danger. Fear is a needed emotion but not one we want to get out of control. When our fears overcome us, we have anxiety which can lead to more health-related issues. In the workplace, fear is something we need to address. People should not be fearful.
As leaders, we need to work to help all members of our teams to feel good and safe about being in our workplace environment.
Setting up a System of Support is a great way to help the culture of your work environment address trauma and issues faced.
- Establishing an open communication policy
- Utilizing a daily meeting time for S.O.S where staff can come to re-energize with positivity. Have snacks, music, a drop box for needs or comments (private) Make the time work for your group. Maybe weekly or monthly is something you want to start with at first to see how it goes. Do not make it a mandatory time or pressured time. It defeats the purpose and goal to help support all.
- Make a tree to place on a wall in the staff workroom for staff to place notes. (Thank you to…., I need help with….., Way to go…..)
- Send notes home to staff! This is a “big” special to your team.
- Get to know all of your staff by name, their families, what they like and who they are as individuals. Then you can pick up on changes and needs.
- Set times when local businesses can come in or offer to your staff massage sessions, hair specials, nails and pedicures, yoga and physical fitness. (Men and women all need these things!)
- Provide training that they want and need. Ask, listen and do.
The system of support will not look the same in every workplace. The framework will be the same, but the elements inside will vary based on the needs and wants of the team. Remember to listen to all voices and pay attention to those dominating conversations; you need all agents.
Framework of S.O.S
- Place to meet regularly
- Dedicated time
- Established routine
- Defined approach
- Clarification to the system
- Open Communication
- Building Trust
- Providing opportunities for encouragement, sharing and learning
- Resources available to all team members to utilize
- Protecting confidentiality
- Getting to know all of the team-not just their names (Families, interests, children, grandchildren, spouses, and more)
Taking action steps to help teams dodge bullets and arrows from the past and present to avoid fears today and tomorrow will improve our teams. Let’s become bulletproof on our way to conquering fear and overcoming all the arrows shot in our direction. I can’t, you can’t, but we can be the solution daily in a world that needs us!