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Addressing Difficult Situations at Work: Unlocking Your Values with the ACT Matrix Too

In this video, Mike talks about mental health in the workplace and how to address difficult situations that can make us feel bad. He introduces the ACT Matrix Tool, developed by psychologist Ross Harris, which helps identify negative voices, values, and steps to progress. Learn how to use this powerful tool to improve mental health in the workplace and make progress!

Transcript from video

Hello. It's Mike here. We're on video nine of the Happy Manager video series. What we're gonna talk about today again then is mental health and specifically how we can address situations that are bothering us that we haven't addressed and we've let cinema away and then make feel like rubbish. I know this is something that we're awful that and I know it's something that I do in my own life and I know from working with so many other managers and senior staff that this is a common issue that we have things that bother us, especially in the workplace, and we, for a variety of reasons, avoid addressing them. The longer that it is that we avoid addressing them, the worse they make us feel about ourselves.

So why is that? Well, it's because it goes because it's because we're going against our own internal value system. So each of us has a series of core values, a set of core values that we've developed over our lives through growing up, through being around people we care about. through being around people we look up to and being around people we dislike.

All of that contributes to us developing a value system. And When we're in line with those values, we feel happy, physically and mentally, but we're especially mentally because we're being our authentic selves, we're being the people that we won't be. When we misaligned those values, potentially by avoiding a situation that we know we should address, we're not being our authentic selves, and we punish ourselves mentally we feel poor mental health because of that.

And this is especially common in the workplace because of the anxiety and stress that might come along trying to address behaviour that we don't agree with So what can we do about that? What can we do about these situations where things are bothering us, but we're a bit nervous about addressing them? Well, I'm gonna share with you now a tool, a really fantastic tool that you can use to help yourself address the situation or any other situation. But you can also use it as a manager or people leader from a coaching perspective

when you're working with your teams.

And this tool is called the ACT Matrix, acceptance commitment therapy Matrix, and it comes from acceptance commitment which has been made very famous by psychologist Ross Harris in the book, The Happiness Trap. And I've had the pleasure of learning more about and developing my skills in the area by working with psychologist Ross Macintosh,

who's the founder of People Soup, go and check out the podcast People Soup is absolutely fantastic. So what we do is we take a piece of paper and we split it down the middle. So we've got a cross in the middle of the paper. at the top left, if you're facing it, you're gonna scribble down what the situation is. So let's say it's having a difficult conversation with a team member.

And what we're gonna do is we're gonna write down what are our values in that situation. And I don't need to overthink this. I don't need to be overrun call with it. Just go with your gut. I don't think about the perfect words. Just go with your gut instincts. So when you think about visualizing your ideal self addressing this situation with this person, what is the kind of four to five values that you see that explain how that person's being? So for me, it might be confidence, fairness, determination openness you know, I'm honest. I might put words like that down.

And that's what when I think about, what I do in a situation when I'm being the person I want to be, what it looks like, and you write those values down. In the box on the bottom, left below where you just wrote your values, you're gonna write the inner world of voices, thoughts, or feelings that you get that prevent you or deter you from doing that. Okay? So why are you not addressing that situation? What language are you getting inside of your head? So again, for this example, for me, it might be that they might react aggressively. It might lead to a huge argument among the people and the team might get involved. It might lead to me losing my job. I might be accused of being a bully. So all of these irrational thoughts that you get, need to be, and maybe some of them are rational. You need to write them down because they are blocking you, these demons on your shoulder, these passengers on the buses we like to call them, they are blocking you from being the person you be. So we need to understand what they are.

So write them all down. Then what we're gonna do is jump over to the bottom right. So on the adjacent square to the one where you've just written down. And what I want you to do is write down in that square. When you listen to these negative voices, what's the action that you take? So if I listen to it might result in an argument, it might lead to the team getting involved, what are the actions that I actually take? I'm gonna write, I just don't address it, or I kind of mess around the subject, but I don't actually address it with them directly. I still think about it. It doesn't I get annoyed because I'm not talking about it with them. I end up being short and frustrated. And what you'll find is that the bottom right box where you've just written is in contrast to your values box.

And this is where the mental suffering comes from because the person you're being isn't the person you want to be, and that makes you feel like crap about yourself. And the reason that's happening is that you're listening to the world of negative self-talk. So that helps you identify the situation. helps you under it helps you see how you're being in that situation.

And then the next thing we do, the final thing we do is we write in the top right-hand side

what steps can you take to move more towards being in line with your values? So looking at the negative voices, looking at the fear looking at actually who you want to be.

What steps could I potentially take to help myself in this situation address that conversation with that person? So I could example, write down my thoughts, book a time to talk to this person and seek advice from somebody else on the issue before I do it. But just write down the steps. Go away. Try it if those don't work. Come back to it again. Every time you're in a situation that's bothering you, and it's dragging on for longer than it should and that's creating some internal suffering. Draw a square on a piece of paper, write your values at the top, then the situation and the values, the negative voices, what do the negative voices lead to? What could you do to improve it? This is an absolutely incredible tool to help you address these situations, which will improve your mental health, but also to help your staff with their suffering with a situation to help them identify, you know, what's causing this.

Okay? What are the voices? Are they realistic? What can we do about some steps that we can make toward progress? The alternative for most people when they don't use a tool like this they dwell on this thing for weeks, months, or years, and it ends up being this huge thing that's really negatively contributing to their lives. People leave jobs over stuff like this

because they just couldn't have this conversation with this person that was bothering them

or they couldn't get over this hurdle, but it doesn't need to be that way. We just need to get better at coaching ourselves and others on how to address these situations and this is by far one of the most effective ways that I found of doing it.

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Mike Jones Better Happy Founder

Mike founded Better Happy in 2018.

He now works with a variety of businesses ranging from small accountancies up to large organisations such as Travelodge on improving employee happiness. Mike's vision and the vision of Better Happy is 'Every employee happy, every business thriving'

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