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Volunteers are on Top Down Under.. and how to beat bullies in the UK..
January 2009
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Dear Karen,
 
Karen KimberleyAfter a mammoth trip with over 10,000 miles by road, sea and air I successfully completed my research for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Arriving on National Volunteer Day in Sydney, I was lucky enough to be a VIP guest of the 'Centre for Volunteering' at their annual conference.

I was humbled by the quality and number of amazing volunteers I encountered, from the only young female helicopter surf rescue volunteer in Australia to a lady nearing 100 who had begun volunteering with The Red Cross in 1941 and travelled over 800 km to the ceremony. The testimony to the calibre of the New South Wales volunteers comes from the fact that amazingly neither of these volunteers won in their category!
 
Add to that fact that a third of the New South Wales population volunteers and you can see why Australia is such an inspirational place to visit to find out what spurs on their volunteers. 
 
I went on to meet a variety of organisations specialising in youth mentoring and volunteering including The Red Cross and MissionAustralia and will be producing a report in February which will provide recommendations for improving volunteering in order to help young disadvantaged people in the UK. I will also be making presentations about the trip to organisations who may be interested in the findings. 
 
The vision for the project changed over the year I spent preparing for the trip. With the increase in knife crime and the number of young people being killed this became more of an urgent mission. My aim is to convince more and more people to reach out to young people and help them escape a life of drugs and crime through volunteer work such as that provided by The Prince's Trust mentoring programmes that help young people in care or leaving care, young offenders, asylum seekers and those with learning difficulties or unemployed.  
The visit encompassed two stops in Singapore, a week in Sydney, a 1300 km road trip along the Gold Coast up to the Hunter Valley vineyards, Port Stephens, Byron Bay, Noosa and Brisbane and then on to Melbourne for Christmas. Here I was persuaded to ascend to the top of the EurekaTower, the highest building in Melbourne at 250 metres and stepped out into a glass box suspended over the city for a birds eye view!
 
The return home was a shock - freezing cold temperatures after 30 degree heat took a little getting used to!
What to do when morale is low and bullying is getting the better of you 
 
Back in the UK we find that managers are frequently avoiding dealing with difficult issues and failing to support staff who are being bullied or who are underperforming. This is leading to high levels of stress, low morale, irritability and more frequent outbursts of anger or tears.
 
The more enlightened organisations realise that during times of uncertainty people need even more support from their managers and will train their managers accordingly in communication, coaching and listening skills to enable them to better support their people.
 
Sadly there are also the less enlightened companies who will only look at the cost aspect and cut training budgets. They then risk their staff becoming more and more demotivated, stressed and depressed and eventually the employees often end up taking time off sick as a result, costing the company time and money in terms of temporary staff and more recruitment costs.
 
Middle managers in particular need the confidence, communication skills and self esteem to deal with difficult issues, deliver difficult messages and when necessary despatch the difficult people!
 
The more managers can support, recognise and reward their people and deal with these difficulties promptly and efficiently, the better those people will perform. This ultimately results in better profitability for the company.
When the upturn comes these companies will have many benefits to outperform the competition. They will have:
* a sound base of competent and skilled managers
* retained the best people in a positive state of wellbeing 
* a better performing team all round. 
 
For information about training programmes for middle managers visit www.karenkimberley.co.uk for a new perspective on engaging your people.  

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Contact Karen via her website www.karenkimberley.co.uk or kk@karenkimberley.co.uk if you are interested in hearing more about the volunteer research findings. Visit www.theprincestrust.org.uk for more information on how you can volunteer. For more details of the trip to Australia see www.ozblog2008.blogspot.com and for details of how to organise a similar project that will benefit the UK see www.wcmt.org.uk

 
Karen Kimberley's company is based in Taplow near Maidenhead. She coaches people inside companies, to change things inside themselves, to improve their communication and performance. For more information contact Karen on Tel 01628 509593, Mobile: 07785 566468, e-mail kk@karenkimberley.co.uk, web  www.karenkimberley.co.uk 
 

 
 
Changing People Inside
 
Contact Information
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Phone: 01628 509593 
Mobile: 07785 566468 
 
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