October 24, 2019

Planning for being well, requires a plan for well-being.

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Myth: If they are doing God’s will the staff will not get physically or emotionally sick.
Myth: We don’t need to look after them, that’s God’s job.
Debunked: Paul the apostle stated that his ministry to the Galatian church commenced when he was sick, and he was looked after by them.

“Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News.”
“But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. You took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself”. Galatians 4:13, 14 New Living Translation (NLT)

We need to allocate enough resources to ensure well-being. Yes, both time and money.

$30 expense or $2000 bill —your choice?

Often the perception is that we don’t have the resources to do this. This is both naive and irresponsible. If you don’t work on ensuring well-being, you will pay a bigger cost later. Like servicing a car. You can get away for a while not doing maintenance, but you will pay a bigger price if you don’t pay attention to it. I have a ride-on lawnmower that I purchased secondhand. It went well, and not understanding that I needed to look after the oil level and oblivious to the motor’s health, I kept on mowing until there was a loud bang and the motor stopped. The motor had to be replaced. A little time checking the oil and adding 5 litres of oil for $30 vs $2000 for a new motor. This was an expensive lesson.

Recently, I met with two pastors who were chatting about the huge amount of time they had invested in a church and their leadership to help it through a crisis. A pastor had fallen morally and they were called in along with others to assist help the church recover. Crisis care like this is costly.
It is a true statement that the health of the leader impacts the health of an organisation. When a leader becomes burnt out the whole enterprise will suffer. This usually shows in the bottom line—money decreases (some cased by over 50%) and key people leave. Could your organisation afford to have over 50% decrease in income?

Come home from work healthy and safe?

What is your board’s/employer’s plan for your well-being? Is it clear and functional? (If you are a sole operator/director – what is your well-being plan?)
It is wonderful to see a growing focus on developing a workplace mental health strategy. Does your board have a strategy for the well-being of its employees? Under Australian Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, employers must take steps to protect workers against risks to their physical and mental health.
New Zealand also has legalisation in place for the psychological well-being of employees. Worksafe’s article on Health is very clear that their focus is not just physical. Furthermore, the Persons Conducting a Businness or Undertaking have a primary duty to care for their workers. I love the NZ Worksafe vision that by 2026 “Everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.”

Where are you most at risk?

Board directors and decision-makers have a positive obligation to ensure the health and safety of workers engaged in the business. “This includes taking reasonable steps to gain an understanding of the psychosocial hazards and risks associated with the operations of the business or undertaking, and to ensure the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to psychological health”.
First on the list of Causes of Psychological Injury—Psychological
Hazards is ‘high job demands’. Studies show that Pastors are required to have 64 key competencies. This study shows that 40% of pastors report stress due to significant workloads.

What are your jurisdiction’s responsibilities?

Surely, for those of us who are Christ-followers, there is a greater reason and responsibility to prevent harm, intervene early and support recovery. As Paul says in Galatians 6:10 (NLT) Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Who can help you formulate a plan?

In my next blog, I talk about the pivotal role a mentor has in building emotional well-being.

A practical free resource for planning

Love you to share this with those who will benefit. Drop a comment to let others know what is helpful.

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