Leading to Serve, Serving to Lead


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Today was the first day of a Servant Leadership Course that we are doing in Crosscare, this was introduced to us a few weeks ago by our Director and Senior Managers and I for one have been excited and worried ever since.
This morning 12 of the management team met up at 9am in Holy Cross College, Conor Hickey our Director and Aidan Browne our trainer were going to take us through day 1 of the course.
Servant Leadership, what is it ?????
Management is doing things right, Leadership is doing the right things.
Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things.
There are seven practices to create cultures that are ethical, practical and meaningful.
Self Awareness
Developing your colleagues
Listening
Coaching not controlling
Unleashing the energy and intelligence of others
Changing the pyramid
Foresight
Today we spent some time looking at an overview of the course, we shared some of our hopes, looked at some of our skills and discussed our experience of positive and negative leadership. We have only scratched the surface but we are on our way. We watched a piece on youtube from a TedTalk by Simon Sinek called “Start with why”, this is a very interesting piece you should if you have the time watch the youtube piece and then go on to look at Robert Greenleaf who is recognised as the founding Father of Servant Leadership. That’s all for now, more in two weeks time after the next session.

Leading to Serve, Serving to Lead


Today was the first day of a Servant Leadership Course that we are doing in Crosscare, this was introduced to us a few weeks ago by our Director and Senior Managers and I for one have been excited and worried ever since.
This morning 12 of the management team met up at 9am in Holy Cross College, Conor Hickey our Director and Aidan Browne our trainer were going to take us through day 1 of the course.
Servant Leadership, what is it ?????
Management is doing things right, Leadership is doing the right things.
Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right things.
There are seven practices to create cultures that are ethical, practical and meaningful.
Self Awareness
Developing your colleagues
Listening
Coaching not controlling
Unleashing the energy and intelligence of others
Changing the pyramid
Foresight
Today we spent some time looking at an overview of the course, we shared some of our hopes, looked at some of our skills and discussed our experience of positive and negative leadership. We have only scratched the surface but we are on our way. We watched a piece on youtube from a TedTalk by Simon Sinek called “Start with why”, this is a very interesting piece you should if you have the time watch the youtube piece and then go on to look Robert Greenleaf who is recognised as the founding Father of Servant Leadership. That’s all for now, more in two weeks time after the next session.

The Tuam Babies, Adoption, Society and Pain.


making-change

The recent press interest in the Tuam babies’ story is interesting; it is interesting from the point of analysing the blame game. On the one hand there are those who believe that the Church and/or its actors are responsible for all the hurt and pain that was inflicted on those who they were supposed to care for. Others are inclined to look to the Government to accept responsibility for what happened at that time, and others take a view that it was of its time, that society as a whole lived that experience, that in fact there was no complicity rather that it was a lived experience for all those that were alive at that time.

In essence as human beings it is much easier for us to understand if we can indeed apportion blame, for in apportioning blame we then somehow manage to distance ourselves from the pain. It becomes someone else’s doing, not something we were involved in.

I believe that as in all historical sociological practices that they are of a time, I was watching a historical drama based on the lives of the Vikings recently, they were barbaric men, they listened and sought advice from their wise men, and they subscribed to fearsome gods and practiced sacrificing humans as a way of appeasing those gods. That was of its time.

In 1965 when I was born things were very very different than they are now, there were very few shopping centres, cars, foreign holidays and no mobile phones. Education, hospital care, disability and mental health services were almost entirely facilitated by the religious orders. Women predominantly worked in the home and when married they could no longer teach. The Catholic belief system was predominant and church attendance was the practice of most people.

Much has changed in the intervening 50 years, not all of it for the better. There is little religious involvement in child care now but that certainly doesn’t mean that childcare is better in fact we still have major problems surrounding the way we look after those most in need.

We do ourselves a disservice if we continue to argue from a now perspective against a then based practice. Ireland in the 1960s and beyond was a much less educated state, people lived in fear of not just the church but of all those who were deemed more educated. Teachers, Gardaí, Doctors, and Politicians were all treated with respect and reverence. There was clear social stratification.

We now live in a very different time, we now by and large come from a more educated perspective, and we know that looking for blame in situations of conflict does not work. We need to accept that these were practices of a time; we need to concentrate on the hurt and the pain. We need to find a way of moving forward, we need to have full open and honest debate around how we can best disseminate the information of the past. We need to accept that the children of the past are the adults of the now and should be treated as such. We need to seek help from those who have self-experienced. We need to be careful about losing ourselves in fear and most importantly for those who have survived the treacheries of the past we need to be inclusive of and supportive of all.

The last thing we need in the quest for the truth is for one section of the self-experienced to subsume power and control over or on behalf of the others. The single greatest issue that stands in the way of healing is US….many fine groups have been set up to help those who are part of the adoption triad, those who were incarcerated in the mother and baby homes, those who were sent to the industrial schools and those whose very identities have been obliterated from the record books.

But in trying to support each other through the various groups there has been a replication of the power paradigm. We are now hurting ourselves as one group tries to take a dominant position over the other. This is not an Irish phenomenon this is a Human phenomenon. In Ireland if we do not recognise this soon and start calling very loudly for all actors to support us all equally then we will again lose this chance to finally break free from the constraints of the past.

Mothers Day ????


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Considering the day that’s in it, Mothering Sunday, it struck me how discombobulated it makes me feel as an adopted adult and in turn I thought of all the mothers involved in the adoption process and how they must feel today. Imagine having given up a child to adoption, then going on to Marry and having more children but keeping the first child a secret, then on mothering sunday your children take you out to celebrate with a lovely dinner, except you cant celebrate because one child is missing. Or imagine all the adult children brining out their mother for dinner and the adopted one is feeling a little melancholy but has to block this as it would be unseemly. Well these scenarios and others are playing out all over the world today. I have a Mother who Mothered me and a Mother who couldn’t Mother me. Which one do I celebrate today, which one do I thank, which one do I buy the card for, which one do I say I Love you to. Both, I cant as I only know one. So today on Mothering Sunday consider the mothers who are struggling with this and the adult children who are struggling with this. Celebrating Mothers is a bit more complex than you might think.

Bastards, gays and respectable people…


adomack1965:

well worth a read

Originally posted on Feck sake...:

I am not – by any stretch of the imagination – a regular blogger, but there are times when you simply have to speak up, and this is one of them. The following is written in a personal capacity.

The bastard, like the prostitute, thief, and beggar, belongs to that motley crowd of disreputable social types which society has generally resented, always endured. He is a living symbol of social irregularity, an undeniable evidence of contramoral forces; in short, a problem – a problem as old and unsolved as human existence itself.

Davis, K. (1939) ‘Illegitimacy and the Social Structure’.

American Journal of Sociology, 45(2): 215-233.

I have always thought of bastards (and I will explain my use of the term below) and lesbians/gay men as compatible brethren. Both have been despised and considered a ‘problem’ (often by the same groups of people), both are misunderstood, both experience discrimination and…

View original 1,212 more words

Gay Marriage, Is Breda O’Brien really threatened ?????


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Breda O’Brien writing in the Catholic Herald says…..that one of the main reasons that gay people want marriage rights is so that they can be registered as parents of children, either by adopting a partner’s children or by commissioning children through surrogacy, and/or egg or sperm donation.

No gay couple can bring children into their relationship without the assistance of at least one person of the opposite gender. This fundamental difference, with all the profound implications for children of being raised either without their mother, or their father, is supposed to be politely ignored so that adults can receive their ‘rights.’

This is an interesting if entirely flawed logic, the adoption/surrogacy/assisted reproduction industry has been providing children to straight, married couples since the inception of early adoption, gay people marrying will make no fundamental change to that position. 
If Breda O’Brien was genuine about her care for the “implications for children” she would fight a completely different battle, she would challenge policies that keep people in poverty and lead vulnerable families into being coerced into adoption to “save their children”. She would fight for funds used to procure children from poorer countries to be used to keep babies with their mothers, she would fight to expose the practice of secret gamete donation so all children had full knowledge of their genetic heritage, she would recognise that society accepting that two gay people can love in the very same way as others is a good thing, that two gay people wanting to make a commitment to each other is a good thing, she would embrace the notion of tolerance and acceptance and she would be honest about why she is against gay marriage.
This is a much broader debate than two men or two women wanting to share their lives this is about one conservative section of society wanting to control another section of society.
It is disingenuous beyond belief to colour it any other way, Bread O’Brien and her ilk need to be honest and call it as it is. They are unable to accept anything that doesn’t fit their narrow perspective.
Gay or straight people, married or not married, causes me no threat, I am married and I rejoice in that, my only concern is how we as a civilised society commodify the surrogacy, adoption, assisted reproduction industry. I am concerned that we continue to have secret practices around the purchasing of children, I am concerned that we still have sealed records of adoption in Ireland, I am concerned that we have groups of people actively sourcing children worldwide, I am concerned that Indian obstetricians are making millions off the backs of extremely vulnerable fellow countrywoman, I am concerned that we haven’t learnt from the mistakes of the past and I am concerned that Breda O’Brien and her ilk will camouflage their arguments and dress it up as something else. This is not about the danger to my marriage or yours, this is not about the dangers to children, adoption, surrogacy etc, this is plain and simple anti-gay rhetoric.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Social Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services, homeless services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, A Member of Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

This Ability


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Crip, Spastic, Nutjob, Handicapper,these were once words that were spoken freely and now in 2014 they have fallen out of use why? October 2007 and a diverse group of people sit in a room sizing up one another, tall, small, fat, thin, black, white, male and female, And  What brought this eclectic group together to do a diploma in disability studies?

 It was an article in a shop window that lead to a meeting in the Arklow Bay Hotel in County Wicklow Ireland which led to the starting of our course. Our reasons for doing the course were varied, some people felt they needed the Diploma in Disability studies  to further their career and some wanted to improve their knowledge about the area of disability. Some people on the course experience disability in their daily lives, which brought a reality to the content and quality of the course.Knowledge is empowing and the course was an eye-opener to anyone who had no experience of disability.

 It allowed us to asses the Impact of attitudes on the rights of people who experience disability. People who experience disability are unseen by society and unknown due to the barriers created by society and their attitudes.

Society is a causal factor in disability ? If a person in a wheelchair cannot get up a flight of stairs is the wheelchair the problem? Or the fact that their legs dont work , or is it simply that someone didn’t build a ramp! Have you ever tried to get money from an ATM with your eyes closed? Blind people do on a daily basis.

At long last an inclusive debate is happening, instead of in isolation, but now, through education where everyone has an equal voice and maybe the challenge to us all is to ask  how do we as individuals disable others in society?

 

 

“Lapgate Lacking Leadership”


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The shenanigans in the Dail last night should really shock us all , but does it ? During a break in the early morning proceedings, TD Tom Barry (FG) grabbed his female colleague Aine Collins and forced her onto his lap, he may have felt that this was funny or appropriate but alas it was neither.  Barry has since apologised for the incident and it looks like Ms Collins has accepted it. Should that be the end of it ? absolutely not is what I say. This sort of nod nod  wink wink behaviour deserves to be left in the past, women do not deserve this boorishness  and most men are capable of recognising that this is wrong. So why do we seem unable to deal with these things in a swift and incisive way ? We don’t because the leadership in this country is weak, they are weak of thought, morally weak, ethically unsound and unjust in their practice. This TD should have been pulled up by his peers, he should have been dressed down by his seniors and he should have had the good sense and decorum to resign. In the organisation I am lucky to work in this would simply not be tolerated, is that understood throughout the services ? yes it is, why? because we are lucky to have strong, ethically and morally sound leaders, both Female and Male who practice what they preach and who are not in fear of making a decision. That alas is what is at the centre of our current morass, we have no one capable of making a decision. last nights fiasco is only indicative of a much greater failure in Government and I for one believe that there are very few members of Dail Eireann who have the moral courage to stand up for all of Ireland.

 

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Child Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.

Experiences are where it’s at


Experience

 

I am what I have become, and I have become because of what I have experienced, my experience has then been used in as positive a way as I can, so all I am really, is a positive representation of my life experiences.
The benefit of those experiences is that along the way I got to meet some people who were willing to listen to my experiences and believe in them, you are one of those people, and now you have made me better because you have added to those experiences

for that I will feel eternally grateful

Social Care Work; What is the Future


The announcement several years ago by CORU that Social Care workers were to be subject to registration was welcomed by some and sneered at by many; For what it’s worth I welcome any endeavour that will support the professionalisation of the Social Care field.

Sadly the process is very, very slow and that is the least of our problems. Social Care work is a very specialised field; it requires no little skill, an infinite amount of patience, an attention to detail and a willingness to put the people you advocate for above and beyond everything else. Because we tend to work with very vulnerable groups of people our practices have to be finely tuned, person centred, and beyond reproach.

Working at that level can place a huge amount of stress on a Social Care worker and all Social Care workers are taught how to look after their own mental health. The organisations that they work for have a huge responsibility to monitor how their Social Care workers are looking after themselves, all managers worth their salt will have trained in supervision and will in turn have procedures in place that support reflective practice. They will encourage critical incident de-briefings and support staff teams in being honest and open with each other.

What all this leads to is a positive, strong team relationships and a team cohesiveness that leads to a positive environment for vulnerable people to live in. The work that Social Care workers do is all based on relationships, relationships with each other, with the people they work for and with other professionals.

But the notion of positive relationships and stress management is being eroded in Social Care work. The last couple of years have heralded a paradigm shift in the way that Social Care workers do their job, and it’s not good. Some Social Care workers are being asked to become self-employed service providers, looking after their own tax, being paid poor wages, getting no annual leave, no holiday pay, no sick leave but most importantly no security.

I spoke recently to a number of Social Care workers who had worked three and four 24 hour shifts back to back, surely we don’t think this is right, how we can adequately look after vulnerable people when we are working in dysfunctional systems. Going into work feeling stressed is not an effective relationship tool, it will only cause more problems than it solves. Social Care workers need to start standing their ground. The professionalisation of Social Care work can’t happen soon enough, until then, we, the collective Care world need to really look at what we are asking our Social Care colleagues to do.

Adrian McKenna is a frontline Child Care Professional; he has worked and Managed for many years with young people and adults in residential care, detention services, mental health services and post-adoption services. He currently works with a large Dublin-based charity. He is a Committee Member of The Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Social Justice Ireland and was on the National Committee of the YES Campaign for Children.

All views expressed are entirely my own unless otherwise stated and are not representative of any organisation or employer past , present or future.