The power we hold

Karen Middleton explains how we are all role models with the potential to help or hinder others

CSP CEO Karen Middleton
CSP CEO Karen Middleton

With the political and economic chaos of the last few months, the destabilising effect can cause huge anxiety and a sense of powerlessness. This is palpable right across healthcare, in all sectors and settings, as you try to manage growing and more complex demand while coping with patients’ anxiety that can be projected onto you. As I have been out visiting members in your workplaces, this is increasingly evident. It is also felt by my staff as they try to do more and more on your behalf and endeavour to support you.

At times like this, it is critical to remind ourselves about the power we do have – what we do have control over and what we can influence. 

Firstly, there’s how we react or respond to what is happening around us, how we care for ourselves and our health and wellbeing, how we hold our boundaries and how we are very clear about what we can and can’t do and why. This is not about resisting change but about being mindful of our response to it and not rigidly holding onto what we’ve always done before.

Secondly, compassionate leadership, particularly now, is critical. This is not about being soft on performance, in fact compassionate leadership will drive up performance. It is about acknowledging how difficult things are and showing understanding. 

And consider what you can do to make things easier – what blockages or barriers can you remove? Critically, it’s also about speaking truth to power and using your influence to make a difference to those you work with or represent – even if you aren’t successful, keep trying and go about it in a different way. 

I think we commonly forget the impact we have on others just by our very being – not simply by what we say and do, but how we say and do it. We are all role models and we all have the potential to help or hinder others. These reflections are particularly applicable to the CSP’s new microaggressions campaign, which you’ll have seen launched online and in this magazine. I would encourage you to visit the campaign hub, consider what role you can play in tackling microaggressions, and how you can support colleagues to improve their working lives. 

So, as another turbulent year draws to a close, I hope you all get time over the festive period to rest, recuperate and spend time with loved ones. And be reassured that my staff and I will be here to support you in 2023. 

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