I also find the balance between admonishment and encouragement a rather difficult one to judge sometimes. One slightly ill judged phrase and there will be little rebellions to put down for several weeks. And I often end up having a conversation that I didn’t want to have. I like to encourage the staff to express their views and take control of their own jobs and play a part in shaping policy. And sometimes this can lead to the whole meeting getting a little side tracked onto broader issues than merely managing performance. Maybe I’m just not terribly good at this stuff.
So what could be simple has been practically turned into a full time job. Actually a couple of full time jobs have been created in Personnel to maintain the system.
But the real pain is the elements of mandatory training that everyone has to undertake. Not just the clinical people but everyone.
For example this year everyone will have to complete, or more to the point I will be responsible for making sure that several people complete Fire and Emergency planning, Child Protection Training, Health and safety risk update, Back Care, Handling Complaints, Dealing with Violence and aggression, and everyone’s favourite Equality and Diversity.
I don’t have a problem with people working out how get out of a burning building. But ensuring that ‘ kids’ are treated OK and receiving instructions on how to pick up heavy things isn’t really going to help my staff buy anything in a more effective way. And of course being mandatory I have no discretion whatsoever on these.
And the diversity training drives you spare. It’s not the concept that everyone should be treated with respect that’s the problem. The vast majority get this and I suspect that for people who don’t no amount of ‘Diversity’ training will change their views anyway. No it’s that slight sense that everybody who attends is regarded as ever so slightly prejudiced and therefore needs to be shown lots of cases and examples and quizzes to bring them back to the path of righteousness. Even if they have received such enlightenment many times before. If ever it was acknowledged that most people don’t give a damn about anyone’s physical capabilities, sexual proclivities, skin pigmentation or the customs, beliefs or dietary principles upheld by followers of the different versions of sky pixiedom then the Diversity Industry would cease to exist.
Which would be shocking as money could then be diverted to patient care rather than being spent on employing individuals to remind us, on an annual basis, that asking for a ‘Black Coffee’ may be thought by some to be offensive and that perhaps ‘coffee without milk’ may be a better phrase to use.
But the hardest bit for me is instructing people to go on these courses in the first place. Doing it with a straight face is achievable, just. But you just feel a bit daft when having to earnestly explain to someone the importance of going on a course to remind them to bend their knees when picking something up. Especially if it’s the fifth time in five years that they have been obliged to attend.
And you know by the way that they look at you that they think you ARE as stupid as you feel.