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Have you noticed how disengaged, Boy giving a thumbs upunhappy employees can spread negativity like wild fire? For some reason they are much more effective than positive focused individuals who look and sound happy and act in a compassionate manner.  On a trip to A&E a year or so ago, I observed disengaged, disinterested staff who seemed to be highly procedural driven.  They gave very limited eye contact – preferring their VDU – and information was very sparse. This was punctuated by one engaging, compassionate doctor who went out of her way to keep my friend, who was in acute pain (due to a dislocated wrist) informed about how and when she could expect treatment.
One compassionate person in a workplace of 15 is not enough and the result is lowered productivity, reduced engagement, stress, absence and increased turnover.  Whether public or private sector, this is not good.
Richard Barrett, a leadership consultant, who advocates a values-driven approach in organisations, looked at Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Over a ten-year period to July 2012, he tracked the share price growth of the top 40 publicly traded companies on the list. They showed average annualised returns of 16.4 percent, compared to 4.1 percent% for the Standard & Poor’s  500 index – and they bounced back quicker from the 2008 global economic meltdown.
This suggests that there are great advantages to encouraging a positive approach to employee wellbeing, valuing compassion, strengths and ability all wrapped up in an enabling style of management.


Ann McCracken is a Director of AMC2 and the vice president of the International Management Association (ISMA UK) – the professional body for stress management Practitioners.

She specialises in developing a positive and resilient working culture in organisations by introducing effective strategies in performance and wellbeing at all levels. The effectiveness of such a positive working culture is measured and assessed using AMC2 Corporate Diagnostic innovative surveys which include measurement of psychosocial factors, stress and wellbeing. Having initially trained as a scientist, she carried out research with DEFRA and consultancy in the NHS.

She spent 10 years in Education before retraining as a stress management practitioner in 1996. She is the author of Stress Gremlins©, regularly writes/broadcasts and is an external lecturer at Westminster University. She is also a Key Note/Motivational speaker/Conference Chair.

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