Sometimes there are sensitive issues that need to be addressed – for example, pointing out to someone that their behaviour is causing you (or others) problems or is contrary to law or policy. Bringing this to their attention in front of other people or when feelings are running high (if their behaviour has caused annoyance, for example) can mean that they lose face and can feel ‘got at’. This can not only make the situation worse by antagonizing them, but could also potentially lead to a complaint of bullying, on the grounds that your behaviour was humiliating and contrary to their dignity. It is important not to shy away from sensitive issues, but we do have to make sure that we deal with them in the right place and at the right time.
Busy people can easily get themselves into a whirl of activity that strongly resembles a hamster wheel – an awful lot of energy being expended, but not necessarily much progress being achieved. What can therefore be of great value is to take a step back from time to time and think about what our current pressures are and work out what is the best way of dealing with them. Can we change anything in the way things are currently working out? Can we deal with certain issues differently to ease or remove certain pressure points? Can we reschedule or reprioritize certain things? Do we need someone’s assistance or support in some areas? All these important questions can remain unanswered if we just press on and not make the time to step back and take stock. This is a key part of reflective practice.