Today I am thinking about what I learnt as a manager, albeit for only 9 months. During that time I went from hero to zero in a truly spectacular fall from grace…the key thing for me was the collective loss of memory amongst protagonists in the organisation, a complete loss of insight into the person I was before I went to work there and that I HAD NOT changed. It has been a real puzzle for me as to why people turned on me in such a short space of time and transferred all their hatred and animosity away from one person and redirected it on to me. I have been avoiding this question for the last four months and I don’t have an answer but at least I can admit to the issue.
I am meditating using the HeadSpace app and exploring the “Acceptance” series. The question you ask when undertaking the meditation is to throw the following out into the ether.. “What or who are you resisting right now?”. The first time I asked that I burst into tears so I knew there was something important there to excavate a bit more. Today I realised it was the pace of change and the lack of support and leadership that I experienced. It was a salutary lesson in how lonely and dangerous it can be to set yourself apart from the prevailing and accepted culture. I attempted to introduce a person centred and values based approach to management and change but this was resisted and deep suspicion was evident.
My key learning from this so far is that I am now committed to spreading a culture of kindness and curiosity in the helping professions and in health care. I was treated with orchestrated and sustained unkindness… it was not nice and distressing.
I recently had correspondence with someone from the organisation who suggested I should have been treated with more compassion. This just made me angry as this suggests that I was in need of some special attention as I had some kind of frailty or fragility… I can’t be alone in having that reaction to the notion of compassion – it felt it was wide of the mark in relation to actually what was needed. I expected integrity and honesty .. I didn’t need compassion but a bucket of kindness would have helped heal the wounds caused by the trauma of realising that a dream you had set yourself has been deliberately and cruelly squashed ..I still don’t really understand the motivation but I know it was due to fear.. not sure what of but I have to come to terms with the fact that I was seen as very dangerous therefore I had to be undermined and removed. It is still something I need to understand …
I resigned from my post as questions were being asked about my mental health and I was not prepared to work within an organisation that did not care about distress or transformation. I believe that a crucial component of reflective practice is self-awareness as without that there will be no learning or transformation. Reflection without self-awareness becomes a self absorbing route to seeing blame in, and problems with, all around you – it removes the importance of personal responsibility. I have learnt much, much more about my moral compass – it has caused problems and has left me isolated and a little adrift but I am beginning to see the way ahead.