3 August 2017

'Blokey' workplaces not helping well-being

| Doug Dobing
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Men and women suffer in ‘blokey’ workplaces and transforming leadership is key to change said Canberra-based executive coach and Network of Possibility Founder Dr Kim Vella.

While workplaces mostly focus on managing physical risk and injury they are sometimes unaware how they risk contributing to emotional stress said Dr Vella.

“In our workplaces, we focus quite heavily on making sure that we manage occupational health and safety risk. But we really focus ninety-nine per cent of our efforts managing physical risk or injury,” said Dr Vella.

“Both men and women suffer in these [‘blokey’] workplaces and it’s not helping our well-being,” she said.

Some ‘blokey’ workplace cultures include not admitting when you need help, powering through when you are sick and the perception that emotions are a sign of weakness said Dr Vella.

Organisations risk contributing to mental stress when they are inflexible, not supportive and do not manage change in an inclusive manner.

Poor job design, workplace restructures that do not address fundamental problems and not letting people take time out when they are ill or when they have been working too hard can also contribute to mental stress.

Kerstin Oberprieler, ThinkPlace Executive Designer and PentaQuest Co-founder and lead gamification designer said it’s important for organisations to remember we are human and not just suits and numbers at work.

“There’s a bit of playfulness missing in the workplace,” said Ms Oberprieler.

People often feel fear and anxiety when they try something new in the workplace. This can undermine their success, prevent them from seeing opportunities to progress their career or to doubt their ability to do the job she said.

Social comparison, comparing ourselves to others in the workplace can also be detrimental.

Ms Oberprieler said about seventy per cent of people experience imposter syndrome at one point in their lives.

“Which is basically a feeling of I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t deserve to be here, I feel like a fraud,” she said.

Former Senior Federal Public Servant and policy maker Mark Sullivan AO will lead a discussion about the role of leadership in creating ‘non-blokey’ workplaces at the next Network of Possibility event.

“The purpose of my presentation will be to explore what it will take to transform ‘blokey’ workplace cultures,” Mr Sullivan said. “And importantly, the role of leadership in activating change.”

“Real change takes committed action that starts at the top,” he said. “I will share key examples of how action has led to ongoing success in public and private-sector workplaces.”

With a career spanning thirty-seven years, Mr Sullivan held positions in the public and private sector including the head of corporate services at Special Broadcasting Service; CEO of the Australian and Torres Strait Islander Commission; Secretary for the Department of Family and Community Services; Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and President of the Repatriation Commission and CEO of ACTEW.

Ms Oberprieler will also talk more about imposter syndrome at the next Network of Possibility cocktail reception. She will share some tips and techniques to overcome imposter syndrome with real life examples about things not often talked about.

The Network of Possibility Founder Dr Vella said the Network of Possibility is not your typical networking event. It connects Canberra professional and business women in a supportive environment for personal growth, to inspire social change in the community and to raise funds for charity

The Network of Possibility cocktail reception with speakers Mark Sullivan and Kerstin Oberprieler is open to women and their guests (female or male).

Cocktail reception details:

Date: Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Venue: 25 Forster Crescent, Yarralumla ACT
Purchase tickets to the cocktail reception.

For further information visit Network of Possibility. To purchase tickets to the cocktail reception click here.

There is a 10% discount for RiotACT readers when you use the code: RiotACT.

Is your workplace too ‘blokey’ or contributing to your emotional stress? What will it take to transform ‘blokey’ workplace culture? Let us know in the comments below.

Doug Dobing is a modern communicator, journalist and content creator with a passion for people, politics and social justice. You can also hear him talking about local current affairs issues on 2XX FM 98.3 SubjectACT. He loves AFL and is an AFL Canberra photographer. You can find him on Twitter @DougDobing.

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