Let's Help the NFL (and any workplace):

Posted by Joel Bennett on

Awareness, Team Resilience, and Raw Coping Power


Increased awareness about domestic violence will hopefully lead to upgraded policy and education efforts in all types of work settings, sports or otherwise. But it is important to make those efforts stick! It helps to use a systematic approach known to avoid costly incidents while promoting healthy relationships and productivity. Here, you will learn six practical steps drawn from two science-based


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Right Attention Breeds Right Action. Media attention on domestic violence in the National Football League promises to raise awareness about the prevalence of such abuse for society at large and the workplace as well as for athletes in all sports organizations. Increased awareness is good if action is taken to prevent such problems in the future. Indeed, the NFL recently announced  it will introduce new policy and staff education on domestic violence. But Will Action Really Work? Such efforts can make the NFL (and its teams) role models for other occupational settings. Because players serve as role models to children, educative efforts could really help the serious problem of domestic violence throughout society. The question is: "Will the NFL do this right?... Will they use evidence-based principles to prevent the problem effectively?"

Did you know

Policy and Education are Only Two Strategies. Prevention education in workplaces can be effective, when it links workers to employee assistance programs (EAPs) that offer psychological counseling, and support. Policy is most effective if it fosters the message "Get Help...for your anger issues, your drinking, substance abuse, or your relationship problems." A policy overly focused on discipline can actually drive the problem underground. Underlying Problems.  But despite increased efforts to raise awareness, many adults will still be reluctant to seek help. Stigma for mental health services is common, especially among men. Such stigma is reinforced by four factors:

  • Misuse or overuse of substances (typically alcohol) for relaxation, because they are sanctioned, or as a way to socialize, even with coworkers; Note. In sports, performance enhancing drugs are one example of this factor.
  • A sense of invincibility.. "I won't get caught" or "No one can beat me." Note that this invincibility is a near cousin to a more positive attitude of psychological resilience, which is described below;
  • Negative, demeaning and stereotyped attitudes towards women or other groups; and
  • Work subcultures that tolerate, hide, rationalize, ignore, minimize, or otherwise accept all of the above, including the stigma.

To get at these underlying problems, we have worked with dozens of organizations using the following six-step approach. Each step corresponds to building one of five "C"s of resilience: commitment, confidence, community, compassion, and centering (or Raw Coping Power). Please join us in our upcoming facilitator training so you can begin to use these tools as well. Chart

 [STEP 1] Establish Meaning & Relevance. Your team will be more likely to pay attention and commit to your training if you take the time to make the training meaningful to them... in their language.

[STEP 2] Review Policy and Test Knowledge. Once you have their attention you can explain policy but it has to be done in a fun way. We always use a team-competition game.

[STEP 3] Explore and Adjust Norms of Tolerance. If done right, policy training makes your team aware that a written policy means nothing if they (together as a team) do not really support it in their hearts. Group exercises that get staff talking about what they tolerate (amongst each other) can be very powerful in creating community.

[STEP 4] Communication Skills Training. When your team sees that policy requires their own buy-in and ability to confront issues, they will need effective communication skills to speak openly and in ways that can create positive outcomes.

[STEP 5] Train in NUDGE and Compassion. It all comes down to relationships. You never know that you may be the only one who can help a coworker. Nudge means [+] Notice if you see a colleague with a problem [+] Understand if you have a role to play [+] Decide if you should say something [+] Use Guidelines from Step 4 [+] Encourage them with compassion. 

 [STEP 6] Train in Resilience.We draw from dozens of tools from our book on "Raw Coping Power: From Stress to Thriving" . We include the Five Cs of resilience and emphasize the importance of evaluating problems, using problem-solving skills, and getting help when needed. Most importantly, employees take the time to see how they help their coworkers and their coworkers help them. The strength of the team provides a significant foundation for healthy coping.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION! If you are interested in learning more about these steps or would like to become certified as a Raw Coping Power facilitator, please check us out at www.organizationalwellness.com. 

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