If your job is to help people living through something terrifying – such as the families of children with life-threatening conditions – how do you maintain perspective, and keep your mind focused on your responsibilities?
Ricky Nowak, communications and executive leadership expert, interviews a man who has to deal with that very issue, Michael Wasley, the CEO of Very Special Kids.
He recommends focusing on the role you play in supporting the family, and especially the outcomes you are trying to achieve. “As emotional as it will be for you, the result you get for that family is paramount and that will help you cope.” Wasley also opens up about some of the specific challenges of his workforce, including preparing families for the very real chance that their child will die.
He believes that it’s a sense of community that really helps everybody pull through. “We gel together, from hospice nurses to family support counsellors to fundraising staff, to provide that support to families.”
(Read our article about HR prioritising stress management.)
Nowak points out that even though most organisations will never have to face anything as high-stakes and dire as what Very Special Kids deal with regularly, every workplace has its share of stress and emotional turmoil – it’s an unavoidable fact of life.
Wasley agrees and suggests “having open conversations and not hiding feelings and anxieties is really healthy”. Referencing previous roles he’s filled in other organisations he’s noticed ” a tendency to suppress emotions and feelings, you almost want to come across with a bit of bravado.” But breaking that down will actually help people relieve some of their stress.
Watch the video for more information.