Forensic Psychologist, Luke Broomhall joins us in the latest instalment of the COVID-19 Wellbeing – Interview Series. Mr Broomhall shares his tips and advice for leaders, managers and team members on how they can look after their own mental health and that of others.
How can leaders check in on the mental health of their team members?
Mr Broomhall urges us to look out for behaviours that sit outside the norm for that person, such as bouts of tearfulness, withdrawal, or anger. If so be prepared to sit down and open up a conversation with this person on the behaviours, you have noticed.
You might like to start the conversation by saying…
“ [Name} I have noticed lately that you seem a bit more [describe the behaviour e.g. withdrawn and quiet] and [these goals or items haven’t been met] and I’m a bit concerned about you and I just want to know if you’re okay and if there’s anything I can do?”
The role of the manager or leader when handling the response to this question is to have a human response grounded in empathy, but to also understand what they can and can’t control, and in turn to provide resources for the individual to access that will support them. When you encounter a strong emotional response from an individual you can respond to them as described below:
“I understand you are feeling this way, tell me more about your experiences and what you are going through at the moment”
Returning to the Workplace
In the transition back into the physical workplace there are several measures and tips that leaders and managers can employ to ease people into the ‘new normal’ of post-COVID-19 work.
How Can We Help a Colleague or a Friend Who is Struggling?
We all want to be able to help and support our friends and colleagues when we can see they may be experiencing mental distress. Mr Broomhall shares that we can all take an active role in checking in with others during this time, but firstly you must:
Grow Your Mental Health Literacy
Emotional intelligence and mental health literacy are capabilities that can be fostered and developed over our lifetime. Even if you currently struggle in these areas, rest assured that with some effort you can grow your confidence and skill. We encourage you to explore the below professional development opportunities which cover essential strategies in developing mental health literacy and emotional intelligence….
If you have had a chance to view this interview, please provide your thoughts here.
The Australian and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) will be presenting a three-part webinar series on ‘Leading People Through Disruption’, beginning on 25 August 2020.
The series will be presented by Dr Jo Cribb — one of the youngest people ever appointed as a chief executive in the New Zealand public service in 2012. Her work has focused on advancing the cause of vulnerable in society, spearheading some of the most difficult issues of our time, including child abuse, child poverty, family violence and vulnerable women.
The webinar series will give participants insights into how to make decisions during a time of crisis and maintain an inclusive and positive style of leadership.
Dr Cribb said that effective leaders created change in a values-based way, and the best were able to empower their staff and admit the limits of their own knowledge and ability.
‘Leadership is about mobilisation, bringing people together and making things better than they were before. You can have that influence at every level and everyone can be part of the leadership team’.
Dr Cribb also said that organisations were too complex and the problems that they had to deal with were too difficult for one person to have all the answers. Leaders needed to be honest and admit they don’t know everything —something particular true in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
‘It is really important for authorities to be honest about what they don’t know when they communicate with the public.
This has been the experience in New Zealand and it has actually strengthened trust in government. We have been able to communicate really complex judgement-based policies and do so effectively.’
The first webinar will focus on leading people through disruption (25 August 2020).
The second webinar will explore what it means to be an inclusive leader under pressure (3 September 2020).
And the third webinar will look at ways to build an inclusive culture during crises (17 September 2020).
Those interested in participating in this series can register on the ANZSOG website.
Author: Frank Exon, Executive Director, IPAA National
For Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing, Dr Chris McGowan, the pandemic response has been a showcase of collaboration and innovation. In this Virtual on the Couch interview, Dr Chris McGowan discussed how his department structured their response to the COVID-19 pandemic by identifying 6 streams of work to achieve their 3 goals being “Flatten the Curve, Optimise the Public Health System and Keep Public Confidence”. Dr McGowan was interviewed by Tricia Tebbutt, Partner, PwC, where they explored Dr McGowan’s insights into the pandemic and responded to questions from the IPAA SA community and broader public sector.
Questions to Dr McGowan included…
As highlighted by Dr McGowan, support for emerging and developing leaders is essential. Learning and capability development is an important steppingstone in the leadership journey, providing the opportunity for self-reflection and growth. If you would like to learn more about leadership training opportunities are available both through the South Australian Leadership Academy and IPAA SA.
If you have watched this interview please feel free to leave your feedback and comments here.
Chief Public Health Officer, SA Health, Professor Nicola Spurrier has joined us virtually ‘On the Couch’ to share how the response to COVID-19 has evolved over the course of the year, and in turn what the future may look like as we face a new “normal”. Professor Spurrier highlights the fantastic work of her team and supporting organisations, as well as the commitment of everyone in the state to suppressing the spread of the virus through social distancing and other restrictions.
“we have a great community here….I had a sense that people would understand, get together and be able to do what was needed”
Professor Spurrier was interviewed by Adelaide Managing Partner, PwC, Jamie Briggs, where they explored responses to the following questions.
Leave your feedback on this event here.
In a recent address to staff of the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, IPAA National President, Dr Gordon de Brouwer PSM, spoke about the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public services across Australia, and highlighted the importance of telling the stories of public service at the state, territory and national levels.
Gordon began by congratulating and thanking the public servants of Queensland and of Australia for their work during the pandemic:
‘You’ve made a profound contribution during a major health, social and economic crisis to protect and improve the lives of the Queensland and the Australian people — well done, and thank you.’
Gordon paid tribute to the speed, collaboration, and effectiveness that public services across Australia have shown in delivering their governments’ responses to COVID-19, and their capacity to ‘think creatively and to act, to change quickly and to do things differently’.
He recognised the importance of digital technology in dealing with the pandemic, both in alternatives to face-to-face engagement and in rapidly making more data available to inform government decision making. And he observed that ‘ministers and public servants have found that they could only do their job with others: be it within their own government, other governments in the federation, or with business and the community’.
Read the full article for free on the IPAA National Website.
When so much of what we have taken for granted has shifted, many of us are experiencing the challenge of seeing our purpose through our work. The role of public servants has never been more vital, though the way in which we work, has changed for many, and with this you may find that you lack the motivation and sense of purpose that you once had. IPAA ACT has launched a new podcast series called Working With Purpose, where during each episode they sit down with a prominent federal or state government leader to explore their key insights on this area. You can see a full list of the currently available podcasts below. Be sure to check back here each fortnight for the release of the latest episode!
Join us for a discussion with Peter and Katherine, who reflect on their respective roles in the COVID-19 response. Peter shares with us some commentary around the APS Workforce Management Taskforce and Katherine reflects on the role of the Chief Operating Officer Committee.
In the second episode of ‘Work with Purpose’, we sit down with Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Metcalfe AO. In this wide ranging conversation, Andrew speaks of his love of Italy, the importance of staying rested and fresh, collaboration with Industry and the inspiration he gets every day from working with his fellow public servants on this major crisis.
In our third episode, we sit down via Zoom with Elizabeth Kelly PSM, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. In this podcast Elizabeth speaks about her role leading four COVID-19 task forces, finding creative solutions for sourcing PPE equipment, returning to the “next normal”, and more.
Kathryn Campbell AO CSC, Secretary of the Department of Social Services (DSS), gives her insights into the DSS COVID response, including the increased workload and workforce surge, and what makes her proud to be part of the APS.
In this episode, which has been produced as both a podcast and a video, we are joined by Frances Adamson, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We are also joined by Holly Noble as co-host, who is Chair of IPAA’s Future Leaders Committee and a Director at the Department of Finance.
Cheryl-anne Moy, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Oiffcer at the Department of Home Affairs, shares personal reflections and learnings from the public sector’s, and her team’s response to COVID-19.
Rebecca Cross, the ACT Coordinator-General for the COVID-19 Response, and Katy Haire, Director-General at the ACT Education Directorate, discuss the links between public service and business, the ACT government’s priorities during the pandemic and working as one government.
Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and General Angus Campbell AO DSC, Chief of the Australian Defence Force, discuss how the collaborative business model developed during the bushfire crisis has shaped Defence’s contribution to the COVID-19 pandemic, and into the future.
Reece Kershaw APM, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Michael Outram APM, Commissioner of the Australian Border Force, talk about the challenges of enforcing values and meeting community expectations, and what they have done to minimise the impact of criminals in Australia and from overseas.
Mike Burgess, Director-General of Security at the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, joins us to discuss how the work of ASIO changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This episode features the tireless leaders of ‘Team Health’ in a remarkable discussion that covers their personal and professional experiences and insights during the COVID-19 crisis: Professor Brendan Murphy, the Chief Medical Officer and Caroline Edwards, the acting Secretary of the Department of Health.
EP#12: Doing the basics well with Michael Manthorpe PSM, Grant Hehir and Angelene Falk
In this episode we speak with three APS leaders about the importance of integrity and its impact on citizens: Michael Manthorpe PSM, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Grant Hehir, the Auditor-General of Australia, and Angelene Falk, the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner. Listen here.
EP#13: Need drives innovation with David Fredericks PSM and Dr Michele Bruniges AM
David Fredericks PSM, Secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, and Dr Michele Bruniges AM, Secretary of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, reflect on the power of collective work and reaching out to colleagues in an open and transparent way. Listen and watch here.
EP#14: Food for thought with Ray Griggs AO CSC and Letitia Hope
In this episode we speak with the leaders of the National Indigenous Australians Agency, Chief Executive Officer Ray Griggs AO CSC, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer Letitia Hope. We explore the decisions, partnerships and networks that were deployed to keep the people in, and the virus out, of our most remote communities. Listen here.
EP#15: Under Pressure – Rebecca Skinner
In this week’s Work with Purpose, Rebecca Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of Services Australia, shares her memories of the earliest days of the COVID-19 crisis and how she prepared her team to not just cope, but thrive. She reflects on the importance of sharing the load, taking it one day at a time and always remembering that no matter how bad things looked, the sun would always rise the next morning. Listen here.