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Daily Nation : February 21st 2014
DAILY NATION Friday February 21, 2014 Jobs 2 Many workers losing sleep over job fears CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 into suicide or murder. Results from another study, the Whitehall II, capturing views and experiences of more than 10,000 civil servants in the UK and US over several years, concluded last year that working more than 11 hours a day increased the risk of heart disease by 67 per cent, compared with those working a standard eight-hour day. Vice president of Regus, Ms Joanne Bushell, says: “Difficult economic times in the West and an unprecedented rate of growth in emerging economies have put a strain on businesses and their employees. Workers are expected to do more with less, and this has taken its toll to the point that many are close to burn-out.” Ms Nyokabi observes though that fortunately in the developed countries, there are established work stress forums that people can join to talk about work issues that are bothering them. She hopes such forums can be set up here to help people to share problems and get solutions instead of turning to alcohol and other drugs to presumably lessen their pain. Many of the early outward signs of stress will be noticeable to managers and work colleagues, according to Ms Nyokabi. The signs should alert those with significant control and responsibility in workplaces to act. Employees should also learn not to keep stressful situations to themselves, Nyokabi advises. “It is important that they complain to their line managers if they are suffering. It may be hard for many employees to do so because of the general assumption that they should be able to cope with the pressures of work, but they must do it nonetheless because you can’t get assistance unless you ask for it,” she stresses. The Regus study proposes flexible working schedules as an alternative to help ease workrelated stress. CHANGE TALKS | A stitch in time still saves nine Fix the glitch or prepare for a crisis BY DR WALE AKINYEMI @waleakinyemi email@example.com L ast week is one of those I will not forget for a long time. Why? I paid the dentist a visit. As with most people, it was not a courtesy call, and neither was it by choice. I had to go. The story started a few years back. I developed a regular toothache, but my fear of dentists would not let me even consider seeing one. The pain grew and I was ready to try anything but the one that was guaranteed to bring a permanent solution – see the dentist. I tried herbs, cloves and mouthwashes and I would get temporary relief and be happy for the moment. One day while traveling from Nakuru to Nairobi, I was chewing gum to freshen my breath after lunch when I felt something hard. I thought it was a bone that had got stuck between my teeth, so I carefully pulled it out of the gum. To my great horror, it was not a bone. A part of my tooth had broken off. That was scary, but the interesting thing is that from that day, the pain vanished. I felt like I had just experienced a miracle How many times do we see a potential problem we can avert immediately but we choose to hope for a miracle? healing. Indeed, my miracle lasted two years. It ended last Friday night. It was as if all the accumulated pain of the last two years decided to come at me with a vengeance. I went online in search of a dentist. At this point, I was not fussy. I just needed someone to extract the painful tooth. When I saw the dentist on Saturday morning, he said the tooth was so infected that he could not remove it immediately. I was, therefore, put on antibiotics for two days. Then, surprisingly, on the day of the extraction, with the anesthesia applied, things were not as bad as I had anticipated. I actually sent my wife a text message telling her how cool things were. Then I went home and a few hours later, the effect of the anesthesia wore off. I was in the most excruciating pain I have ever been in. I was rolling on the floor. My wife swears that she saw some tears. This cannot be independently verified. The lessons I learnt? What if I had fixed things at the first sign of the problem more than two years earlier? How many times do we see a potential problem that we can avert immediately but we choose to ride on and hope for a miracle? Usually, a crisis is the end result of changes that were not properly managed. Look around you. What things do you need to fix that you are still procrastinating about? You are simply building momentum for a crisis. Then there is the anesthesia. It did not solve the problem. It just numbed it. As long as it was there, I did not feel the full brunt of the problem. How many individuals, companies and even nations are today under some form of anesthesia? There is no production but a lot of borrowing is going on to make it look like things are okay. The anesthesia might come in the form of aid, or in the form of living a parasitic life, where you mistake your parents’ money for yours, or where you work for a great company and think that automatically makes you a great person. It may even be where you think you are a spiritual being because of where you worship and the spirituality of your leader. Who are you? If all those trappings are taken away, who will you be? Do people respect you because of the office you hold, because of whose child you are or because of who the real you is? Are you a star merely by association or have you developed yourself to be the star that makes others shine? If you have not built yourself as a brand, the day the effect of anesthesia wears off and the real you is exposed, you might find yourself in a very painful tearinducing situation. I cannot but remember my mother’s words at this point, that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Trust me, it still does. MANAGEMENT 101 | Anything worth doing is worth trying Afraid to fail? Then wait longer for success BY FLORENCE KITHINJI @kithinji_f firstname.lastname@example.org One of our greatest fears in management is that of failure. It can be so great that it leads to inertia, or the inability to act. How many times have you put off doing something because you fear that you will not do it well? There is nothing wrong with failing. It is better to try and fail than not to try at all. Anything that is worth doing is worth trying, even if badly at first. The evidence of this is everywhere in life. Take the case of toddlers. They learn to walk the hard way. They fall down and get up, over and over until they learn how to walk steadily. As adults, we get impressed that they have even made the effort to stand up, let alone walk. We don’t withhold praise just because the child is still trying. Each effort is rewarded. Anyone observing a child learning to walk knows that no baby learns to walk without having to go through the experience of falling. Falling does not stop them from trying. The desire to walk is greater than the fear of falling. The need to walk motivates the child to keep trying. Likewise when we go through life, we learn to walk through it by falling. Why then should it be ILLUSTRATION | JOSEPH NGARI | NATION that when an organisation fails to meet its targets, everyone focuses on the failure? This makes failure seem larger than the effort made to succeed. Such reaction robs the organisation of a great opportunity to use the setback as the start of a great comeback. The reality is that you only become a failure when you stop trying. Great inventors go through several failed attempts before they succeed. Their tenacity and ability to see themselves through dark moments of failing make them eventually succeed. The difference between those who succeed and those who do not is the motivation to do so. Are you performing below your potential because of fear of failure? In his book, 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself: Change Your Life Forever, Steve Chandler advises everyone to make today a masterpiece. He argues that most people delude themselves into thinking that they have all the time in the world. In the process, they let slip through their hands some of the finest opportunities. Chandler gives the example of John Wooden, one of the most successful basketball coaches. As the coach for the UCLA team, Wooden told his players to focus on each day and make it a masterpiece. He wanted the players to retire to bed with the thought: “Today, I was at my best”. To Chandler, today is a microcosm of your entire life. The fear of failure emanates from the thought that you will not be able to do it well. You already have a set standard on what you should be doing. Since you think you cannot get to that level, you refuse to try. Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Start with a rough draft, which will eliminate the mental inertia and become the baseline for your work. In addition, it helps to break the job into little pieces. This will help you to achieve small victories, which cumulatively, will give you the impetus to succeed. It is better to burn out like candles that light up a dark room than rust out like an unused tool. Succeed or die trying. Dr Kithinji is a trainer and consultant in the Kenya School of Government, Nairobi Get staff engaged to boost wellness CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The Gallup study suggests that one way is to allow staff to singly focus on their strengths. Apparently, doing so is good for their wellbeing, that individual workers become more productive by 7.8 per cent. Teams record about 12.5 per cent rise in productivity. Strategic management consultant Devarest Ambale offers his piece of advice: “There is nothing as good as when an employee knows that the organisation cares about his wellbeing. This in itself begins from how the management capitalises on his talents, skills and strengths.” Although the respondents in this study were drawn from diverse workplaces in the US, the finding, experts say, apply to every organisation seeking to succeed in the current competitive world. “In the current environment where requirement for quality has gone a notch higher, you cannot ignore to nurture skills or talents that will make your organisation a star,” asserts Mr Ambale. He says for an organisation to remain relevant, it must conduct continuous trainings and couching for all employees in order to get the best out of them and to respond appropriately to the changing customer preferences. That goes a long way to get them engaged, says Mr Ambale. “Otherwise, even if you employed the best of the best but failed to use their skills and to implement mechanisms to improve them, you are avoiding to engage them,” he says. Thus, to reach the level in which an employee will be happy to remain in the office until midnight to finish project is not just an obligation but an organisation’s administrative role.
February 20th 2014
February 22nd 2014