This week, CSIA sat down with Jan Ungerer from Insightful Communications for a chat about leadership and how to create the conditions conducive to retaining team members and optimising their potential.

With 25 years’ experience in the Community Services Industry Jan has a rich background in process design, facilitation, education and not-for-profit leadership.

Jan has worked with countless organisations to develop meaningful change and introduced them to a simple tool to frame thinking.  While she will delve further into this at the CSIA Workforce Summit, she shares insights with us in this blog.

Safe to Stretch

When it comes to workforce wellbeing ensuring safe spaces is vital. Workplace safety is more than just physical safety. When people feel that they are respected, valued and have the opportunity and resources to contribute their talents and perspectives everyone benefits through increased creativity, innovation and productivity.

“When we speak well and think well together there’s greater productivity,” says Jan. “When we’re psychologically safe to challenge ourselves that’s where creativity, innovation and collaboration happens.”

A safe space though doesn’t mean a space for avoiding disagreements. Jan reflects on the value of understanding how to deal with conflict during conversations.

“We need friction to grow but we don’t need so much of it that sets us into a state of threat,” explains Jan. “It’s about making people feel safe to bring their optimal performance to whatever it is that they’re doing.”

Dealing with Change

As an Industry we know that the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will create changes in the way organisations are structured and managed.

Being clear about organisational change and providing processes where people are listened to and can provide feedback is critical for workforce retention and optimising potential.

“Leaders need to create the conditions for resilience. They need to inspire and encourage people to go beyond where they thought they could go,” says Jan.

Jan has countless stories of positive outcomes when people are valued, respected and heard.

“They are more likely to provide creative solutions to changes happening around them. There’s a certain sense of ownership around change when people feel comfortable to be innovative,” reflects Jan.

Feeling Safe to Stretch

Having witnessed firsthand the changes in Industry and forecasting future disruption, Jan has developed Safe to Stretch, a simple tool to frame our way of thinking.

“Safe to Stretch helps see the big change in behaviour that we need. It challenges ourselves, our conversations and the things we’re grappling with,” says Jan.

Jan will be speaking more on the Safe to Stretch tool at the Workforce Summit. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to engage directly with Jan.