Practical Bravery: ANNA GOLAWSKI



Increasingly, work is an integral part of living – not the work/life balance but the work/life blend. And we can often spend more time with colleagues than we do with our own families. So, in return, more people demand careers that makes them feel part of something bigger than a to-do-list.

So why, in 2019, did the UK’s Health and Safety Executive report that stress, depression, and anxiety accounted for over half of all work-related ill health cases.

In this episode we’re exploring how brave employers should be in putting wellbeing and welfare at the top of their priorities. Has it gone too far, with new generations unrealistic about what they are entitled to? Or are we still falling short, hoping that AI and automation will simply get rid of expensive and whingeing people for good?

Our guest is a coach, a strategist and a facilitator with a mission. A specialist in resilience and mental toughness in leadership. With over two decades of experience in corporate giants like Harrods, IBM, and Rolls Royce, she is a champion of mental health at work – helping banks, tech firms and transport networks to get it right.

Meet Anna Golawski.

Key quotes:

“We look for careers where we’ve got value, where we’ve got things which are aligned with our goals, our beliefs and our purpose.”

“We employ people for their brains, for their mental wellbeing.”

“Organisations are much more understanding around mental health and wellbeing, but there’s a long way to go. So many organisations are very reactive, waiting until there are high rates. I want to get across to organisations that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“I’ve been exposed to all kinds of leadership styles, the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. That was the catalyst for me to focus on mental wellbeing, based on my own experience of burnout.”

“People are much more clued up in terms of the culture of the organisation. We’re seeing employees asking a lot more incisive questions about the culture, leadership and wellbeing, and how they’re going to be treated.”

“One of the phrases that I like, I think it came from Mike Tyson but don’t quote me on it, is everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

“We can’t avoid difficult stuff that we’re going to have to face. The important thing is to build up our coping strategies, how we can learn and grow, sometimes reframe situations.”

“What’s the purpose, what’s the identity, what’s the north star of the team?”

“It’s about creating those habits. It takes two months for a new habit to become automatic in us.”

“Managers need to role-model these behaviours.”

This episode was recorded in July 2023

Interviewer: Richard Freeman for always possible

Editor: CJ Thorpe-Tracey for Lo Fi Arts


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