Who is Responsible for This?
Kevin is an extraordinary man who cares about people a great deal. He was being kept awake at night worrying about his teams, especially when they headed off after a seven day run of 12 hour shifts to drive long distances to their homes.
Kevin was really concerned about their welfare, knowing only too well from his decorated career as a racing driver, how lethal a car can be.
There were too main areas he wanted me to look at. First was their general levels of alertness, energy and fatigue. Second was the attitudes that made it ok for them to be less than responsible.
My first mission was to check out the available information on fatigue and “managing” it. I was quite astounded that all of the responsibility was on the employer, with some vague tips about getting good sleep, eating healthy food and having adequate fluids for employees.
Whilst a little shocked, I was also excited because I knew I could help Kevin and his team out.
Now it is not the aim of this article to go into all of the content of my Fatigue Prevention program, but I wanted to explore this whole area of responsibility.
Certainly Kevin, like every other employer, has responsibilities for his workforce. He must develop rosters that give his employees time for some relaxation, recreation and good quality sleep. He must also create shift rotations that allow employees to get away from work, live their life and recharge.
There are so many different versions of this out in the world. Kevin and his teams seemed to agree on the system they were using.
So why all the responsibility on the employer.
When I was a teenager, if my mum had to wake me for school in the morning, and I complained of being tired, she would simply respond with something like, “Well get to bed earlier,” or “It’s your own fault for watching so much TV.” Not once did she ring the school and tell them they should change my school hours because I was over tired.
Personal Responsibility seems to be a concept that has disappeared out the window. But we all know. For example. We all know:
· If we eat junk food we won’t feel great.
· If we don’t do any exercise, we will lose our fitness.
· If we smoke cigarettes, we will lose lung capacity and may get sick.
· If we take drugs, there is a risk of addiction, and there will be a downer.
· If we stay up late, we may go into sleep debt and be tired.
· Eating a lot of sugar is not a good thing.
· Too much alcohol can erode the quality of your life.
· Gambling rarely ever brings a positive result.
Basically, we all know that if we want to be fresh and ready to go for the start of our working week, then it is up to use to do what is needed to be fresh and ready.
If I have an ailment, it is up to me to go get checked out and do what is required to correct that ailment. If I suffer from snoring or sleep apnoea, I could keep searching to I find a cure for it. If I put on 5kg, it is up to me to do the work to lose it.
So why are we so frightened to sit with people and kindly remind them of their own personal responsibilities? IT makes no sense. It is a kindness to support people to take responsibility because when they do, their self-esteem improves and they get better at being responsible.
In my seminars I talk about my take on what life really is. For years I studied all the old religions and philosophical teaching and concluded that the consistent message that seemed to come through is that life is a journey of growth, a process of constant evolution of the human spirit.
Part of what gives us the opportunity for that growth is the variety of challenges we face as we go. When we face a challenge, we can be like a warrior and take it on with courage, or we can play victim, go on about how unfair it is, and cave in on ourselves.
The reality is that Warriors tend to be happier and more successful. Victims tend to slowly shrink and find themselves at the effect of everything.
So, if I start playing victim around something, and a friend turns up to help me explore different viewpoints and to stop being a victim and assume personal responsibility the challenge in front of me, then they are being kind and loyal.
If they are leaving me in my victim mentality, they are being uncaring and cruel. See, what is going on for me at that time is their next challenge. Don’t you love how it works?
But, I put a disclaimer her. I am not talking about being a bully and never choosing to have empathy. I am talking about always helping people to find a way they can take personal responsibility when things are not how they would prefer them to be.
And I predict that when your workforce becomes more collectively personally responsible, you will hear less complaining and more encouraging. And you might find your project managers and executives being challenged to get better by the company’s workforce.