When I worked for police, we were involved in delivering and promoting a program known as Protective Behaviours. In the context I was working in, it was aimed at young people and provided a terrific way of making decisions in order to keep themselves safe and minimise any harm to themselves.
In re exploring this program recently, it occurred to me that it also has wonderful application in the adult workplace.
The two themes:
“We all have the right to feel safe at all times”
“Nothing is so awful we can’t talk about it”
certainly have resonance for adult workers.
Underpinning these themes is the notion of safety, risking on purpose and unsafe behaviour. Understanding these concepts links very much with our emotional intelligence and how we make choices about our behaviours, what we say and our feelings and how these influence ours and others safety or lack of it.
And the notion of “Nothing is so awful we can’t tell someone about it ” has at its core the concept of persistence ie in other words if you can’t get the first person you tell to help restore the environment of safety, then keep on trying and work through your network until you do find someone. This can equally apply to your own safety or that of others.
The technique also advocates the development of a personal safety network a person can turn to when they are feeling unsafe. This needs to consist of adults who are able to non judgmentally listen and who are willing to take action on your behalf. It provides for an opportunity to gain diverse perspectives for action , often necessary in the complex world in which we live, and a means of restoring personal safety.
Some of the work I am developing around the concept of PBs links directly to the leadership field and EI and other work is around the use of metaphor in terms of working through safe and unsafe options and its use in maintaining personal safety. As this develops I will make it available through this blog.