Learning at Work Week

Professional development and further learning are critical components in self-improvement.   At Enrych, not only are we passionate about the development of our people, we also want to ensure that as the needs of those we serve changes, we have the requisite skills to support them effectively and appropriately.   I have recently enjoyed finding out more about the further learning opportunities some of our staff at Enrych are currently involved in and what better time to talk about some of this then Learning at Work week for which this year’s themes are uncovering learning potential, hidden powers and new dimensions.

A number of our team have recently begun a level 5 leadership and management course. The knowledge they are gaining of how to become a more versatile leader is very important for managing different types of people and understanding the differentiation between a good manager and a good leader.    Not only is this learning proving useful for them in their work-focused activities, many also remote that it is providing them with a much broader understanding of interacting generally.

 As evidenced by a recent exercise in which we did some Belbin Team Roles analysis, we have a variety of people with a variety of different learning styles as part of our team. Maximising what each person can bring to the table is key for the progression of Enrych as an organisation and being versatile in managing all kinds of scenarios is key to making this happen.

Doing a course such as leadership and management not only allows the person in question doing the course to increase confidence in their ability to lead, it also makes anyone in a non-management role feel more confident to gain valuable knowledge from them. It’s a win-win situation.

Something that I am learning myself is the importance of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone in order to be able to progress your learning.   For me, this is also about learning how to express myself.    Having the opportunity to interview colleagues about their further learning was quite the challenge for me - but one I was enthusiastic about embracing because I know how important the concept of ‘face your fear and do it anyway’ is in order to progress.  I really enjoyed finding out more about ways people are developing and increasing their knowledge and skills. I firmly believe engaging in a course such as leadership and management allows a person to take stock of where they’re currently at in terms of their role as a leader or manager and how to be the best kind of leader or manager. Of course, learning doesn’t happen overnight,  patience and the desire to inherit new information is required to make the most of learning opportunities.    And I think it’s important to remember that not all learning is done in a formal setting.    I firmly believe a person’s own life scenarios can have more positive outcomes if you take the time to reflect and evaluate. I hugely value my time to reflect and evaluate as I want to be an effective and versatile employee and provide value to the team at Enrych.

Another course our staff have been doing is Mental Health First Aid. I can say without a doubt, I feel safe to discuss anything that is on my mind with my colleagues. One such method we now have is plastic mood faces we can put up in a stand on our desks. There are red (angry or fed up), orange (sad or unhappy) and green (happy or elated). These help us to identify ways we can all help each other by knowing how they are feeling and doing what we can if to support if they have a red or orange face.

One thing colleagues have reported they have learned more about via doing a Mental Health First Aid course is how to develop methods to deal with a crisis, and also more to prevent people from getting to the point of crisis in the first place. With the staff I have spoken to about this course, it has been important for them to learn the differences between empathy and sympathy. These are two words quite a few people sometimes mix up. From a mental health perspective if you want to try and support someone to improve their mood, empathy is key; sympathising is likely to have more of an adverse effect.    It’s the difference between standing at the top of very deep hole and coaxing someone out of it or jumping in with them and finding you are both in a difficult place with little hope of getting out together.    It’s never great to be going through a bad time- but like the popular saying goes… a problem shared is a problem halved.

I’ve been really interested by the comments from colleagues who participated in Mental Health First Aid training.   As someone with a keen interest in mental health related topics, prevention is what we want, of course and there are many positive ways this can be achieved. However, making an effort to understand a person’s experiences with a particular condition also makes feel as if someone cares about their whole self rather than only being interested to hear about when they feel on top of the world. The staff who have taken part in this course expressed their desire to learn more about how to talk to people who are experiencing poor mental health and how they can access further support.   As well as this being important as part of our commitment to promoting better wellbeing, it is also vital to ensuring we have the skills to serve our clients better as many are experiencing poor mental health for the first time having, like many of us, become quite anxious over the last 2 years of the pandemic.

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