Being in control of our day

26 February 2015

Being in control of our day

This month I want to write about a very powerful tool in my leadership armoury!

Helen Sanderson has introduced me to the Good Day/Bad Day exercise, which is just amazing.

Initially, I went through my own Good Day, analysing minute by minute all the aspects that make up a really brilliant day. This became a very liberating activity, and I enjoyed thinking about the aspects of my day that makes my job so very special. I then focused on the ‘flip side’ , to analyse the events that switch my day from ‘good’ to ‘bad’. This too became a cathartic exercise, as I was able to write freely about the frustrations that can come my way.

Having gone through the process, it becomes clear how we can actually be in control of much of our day, that we can decide how events affect us and therefore how this impacts on our day.

I wanted to run this activity with our Midday Assistants, at my half termly meeting. I felt that going through a ‘Good Lunch Time’ with the team would give them the opportunity to think about what they do that impacts on their time at school. The activity encouraged a lot of positive discussion, problem solving, and provided a forum to show that they are in control of much of what happens. It also gave an opportunity for the team to discuss effective ways of working. They left the meeting feeling good about their job, having a laugh about things that ‘flip’ it from a good session to a bad session, and also seeing themselves as a team. I then typed up their ‘Good Day’ into a flow chart, which has become their guide, their ‘must do’ check list. I appreciate that it is aspirational, but we may as well aim high!

I then had a member of staff come to me feeling anxious about her job, and how she was beginning to feel unable to cope. I worked through a ‘Good Day’ with her, starting right at the beginning of the day through each successive session. By focusing on the fantastic elements we were able to rationalise her anxieties, to show how she was in control of much of her day. Once again it became clear how this activity empowers people, and makes them appreciate the many elements that make their job so enjoyable.

I will certainly employ this exercise again, and as a school leader I can see how relevant and effective it can be to help staff become the very best that they can possibly be.

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