“Apologies for not getting back to you earlier, this mobile works 3kms into the ancient city of Petrah in Jordan but not that well in Hove!” Andy Mason has just completed a four-month-in twelve project in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. He was involved with training and coaching managers and staff from Terre des Hommes, UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children and Right to Play amongst other INGOs as well as local NGOs working with Iraqi refugees.
Now back in the UK for the birth of his first child, Andy has teamed up with Stress and Well-Being consultants In Equilibrium to make his Conflict Transformation skills available to UK organisations struggling to stay calm during the worst economic downturn in 20 years. Tension and the potential for conflict in many organisations has never been higher. ‘Survivor Syndrome’ among the rank and file combined with strategy disagreements in the Boardroom has created an atmosphere in many organisations Andy Mason is well equipped to deal with.
Before setting off on his travels Andy spent 10 years in community, mental health and acute parts of the UK National Health Service as a trainer, coach and consultant. This was followed by 3 years as an organisational development specialist within the UK Accountancy profession before moving on to work as an independent consultant in the public and private sectors.
Since 2002 Andy’s international career work has connected him with Egypt, India, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Sri Lanka. In addition to working with Iraqi refugees he has developed relationship building among diverse communities including resident and internally displaced Sinhalese, Tamils and Moslems. He has also been involved with training international peace workers and local NGO staff in the war torn east of Sri Lanka, Beirut, Amman and Damascus.
In Equilibrium Director Alastair Taylor is well aware that help is needed to calm the waters in many companies during this difficult period. “Andy Mason has the perfect experience and skills to help struggling companies to get through this recessionary period. It is hardly surprising that a recent Investors in People survey found that almost four in 10 (39%) of UK employees said stress levels were higher now than 12 months ago. The survey also revealed that 43% of stressed employees blamed a lack of confidence in management, while just 5% said they were receiving more support from their managers in the downturn.”
Market uncertainty, a lack of confidence and high levels of stress are a breeding ground for workplace conflict. What is needed more than anything at this time is enhanced levels of personal and organisational resilience to generate greater optimism and identify opportunities for the future and this can only be achieved if people work together in a cooperative supportive environment. Andy Mason believes that some conflict in organisations is helpful, a sign of differing ideas and creativity. His main concern is about the type of conflict that is counterproductive; that leaves people maybe angry or ashamed; unable or unwilling to engage with their work enthusiastically; reluctant to solve problems; and, sometimes, get out of bed in the morning.
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