Flexibility is something we like isn’t it?
- Flexibility to change our minds.
- Flexibility to work differently.
- Flexibility to change our approach to something.
- Flexibility to travel.
Flexibility is a bit of a superpower, but do we really celebrate it? Sometimes, yes, often no.
The past 18 months has seen us really being challenged on all fronts – education, training, work, shopping, holidays, travel, family…the list goes on. We’ve all adapted, we’ve all changed our approaches to things, we’ve all learned new tools, tips and techniques and we’ve all tried to get through this in the best way possible.
Some organisations and structures want us to get back ‘to normal’ and many are now acting as if the pandemic is over…restrictions lifted, compulsory masks and distancing reduced or jettisoned and travel opening up much more. It’s a great thing, BUT only if society is ready.
We proved that kindness is an untapped and sometimes underused emotion which has had a recent resurgence so, we’ve proved we can be flexible, shall we keep it that way and try to manage our need to be flexible with kindness and compassion?
Leaders: Stay ahead of the mood in your organisation, if you don’t model the behaviours you want, you’re not going to see them in the organisation. Want to keep flexibility and motivation? Model it.
Managers: Keep cutting people some slack, their productivity is increased if they think you care – if you actually DO care they will feel it in your actions and behaviours.
Colleagues: Keep being supportive, keep bringing in surprise treats, keep sharing stories and keep doing the little things that often turn out to be the big things when others look back.
Teachers: Start as you mean to go on, take PPA for its proper purpose, look after yourself and manage your time. Remember each of your students has their own identities and their own stuff to deal with…be aware of the need to be flexible with each of them in different ways.
For me, I’ve not always been quick to be flexible but over the past few months we’ve done a lot of new things and I’ve learned a lot about myself, my habits, my behaviours and how I need to approach things differently…one of the key things I’ve learned about flexibility is that it starts with my attitude towards it.
Yes, flexibilty and change might mean ‘more work’ but equally it could be different, new, exciting, rewarding or eye-opening work and that’s how my approach to being flexible has changed…so I’ve learned to become flexible with my flexibility and it seems to be working!
This is one of two blogs about flexibility…blog two will be issued soon, I’m not sure when, I’m being flexible with the date!
PS: I wrote this blog on the train to London. The train stopped en route because there were problems with the signalling at Euston. It meant the cancellation / postponement of my work in a school in London and a wasted train fare. I got back on the same train which was re-routed North.
As I was sitting with my laptop open at Crewe, people got on around me and suddenly a young man stood over me and said “You’re in our seats, mate”. There was no pleasantry, not ‘sorry to bother you’, just a rude statement. I explained through my mask that the train had been rescheduled, and was going back North – pointing at the sign which said the seat was ‘available’. There were loads of seats empty – including ones with tables.
He turned away, got his phone and shoved the digital ticket into my face with an expectant look on his face…as his girlfriend looked away and started to look for other seats.
I shrugged and pressed ‘save’ on my laptop.
And then thought about it – we were both right – we both had a right to the seat but actually after the day I’d had, I didn’t care where I sat.
I packed up, moved seats and said ‘they’re all yours’.
Without a word they took their seats.
Just because others are rude and aggressive, I don’t have to be. Pick your battles or step away from them.