What provoked tears in me?
The tears are running down my face as I write this. I am angry and sad after reading this article in the Alberta Huffington Post regarding deaths in the Alberta Foster Care system. So many children’s deaths uncalled for. So many undervalued and stressed workers. Both pull at my heart. The second is why I do the work I do. My mission is to change the culture in organizations so leaders can support their teams to do the work they were meant to do. I give leaders confidence and awareness’s to be their best self and run great programs.
Leaders struggle to do their best work
I have seen time and time again leaders who are struggling to do a good job. They are struggling because they lack support, training and guidance, among other things. I have seen it in ministry positions and non-profits around the province whether they work with children, seniors, people with disabilities or in community programs. The leaders are overwhelmed with shortages of staff, huge workloads and honestly with the politics of doing their job.
I’ve been thereI have been in this struggle too
I worked for years with children and families. I was involved with work for people affected by disabilities and in community development. I felt challenged as a front line worker to stretch myself between many families’ needs, the paperwork, travel and my own health and wellness. I wanted to be able to grow personal and professionally yet could barely fit in the time to do the work let alone anything extra. When I moved into management positions I faced helping staff with those same problems. In addition as a leader, I was pulled between the staff, the organizations, the funder and the communities in which I was supporting.
These challenges aren’t just in children’s programs
Everyone deals with it. This isn’t seen in just one agency, one program, one ministry or one community. It spans sectors, demographics and geography. It is prevalent in industry as well as social services. Leaders around the world are so stretched, under supported and undervalued they can’t do their best work.
People believe in people
What makes me most angry with this is that it doesn’t have to be this way. People want to do a good job. They want to be competent, capable and efficient. They want to care. Whether it is a front line staff, a middle manager or senior leader, they are all people with values and beliefs. All of us believe in mankind. The majority of us believe essentially that we are all good people who mean well. We just don’t always have the resources available to act on it.
Leaders spend too much time putting out fires
What gets in the way of workers and leaders ability to “keep the faith” is overwhelm, exhaustion, stress and misunderstandings. Instead they become bitter, annoyed and frustrated. Without the ability to “do it all”, things get dropped. Conversations tend to be around the fires we are putting out instead of the relationships we are building. And in human services work, children may die as a result.
I’ve believe in my work
What keeps me motivated in this work is that I see it changing and I am thrilled to see more and more people working towards this. I was involved in an Emerging Leader project last fall where the Government of Alberta funded emerging leaders to receive Leadership Coaching. I am speaking at theAlberta Association of Services for Children and Families (AASCF) conference this month and am proud to be a part of the work they do around the province supporting funded agencies. I am working with agencies and leaders who are implementing programs, training, coaching and policies to chance the situations. I am in partnerships and conversations with other coaches and consultants around North America working to make a difference.
It is rewarding work. It is empowering work. If I can do this and make the difference in the life of one child, one family and one leader and one organization, I know I am doing the work I was meant to do.
I lead a full life full of love, adventure and growth. Check out my latest thoughts here.
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