School Business Leadership

Detained without charge

Very occasionally, Barry can say something amazingly astute. Most of the time, of course, he talks complete tosh but yesterday was a day of both classic Barry and insightful Barry.

Let me explain.

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of dragging him around town. I know he doesn’t enjoy this and only takes part because his motto is “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. Anyway, he manages it with good grace and I don’t inflict it on him very often.

We decided to stop at a sunny table outside a tea shop and while perusing the menu started talking about our children and their partners.

Barry likes to compare their lives to his…”When I was in love, I made lots of effort”

“What do you mean ‘when’?”

He looked dismayed. “Um, well, of course, but we’re married…” I advised him to stop digging himself a divorce and go and get me a pot of Earl Grey.

Later that same afternoon, we were comparing diaries for the goings-on in the last week of term. We started talking about pay, workload and resources and Barry, quite out of the blue, said “If I was your line manager I would have flagged you as a flight risk a long time ago.”

When I’m considering my teams, I tend to identify the “key” staff. These are colleagues I can’t afford to lose right now, even though no one is indispensable and I see it as one of my responsibilities to support everyone in their career progression either within the organisation or by helping them move on.

But I’ve never looked at it from an angle of “flight risk”.

Although I’m always loathed to admit it, Barry is right. If someone came along with a suitable offer, I’d probably take it but what bugs me the most is that my situation is of my own making.

I haven’t prioritised adding the necessary roles to my team which means we are all overwhelmed with work. I have been concentrating on making sure my key staff are properly remunerated and have neglected my own pay scale. I haven’t been pushy enough about the importance of our function in the Trust which means we’re all squeezed into one room like sardines. I’ve spent all my time fighting the fires of funding shortfall that I’ve taken my foot off the strategic gas.

And the result is that I’m worn down, exhausted and a flight risk. No good to anyone.

So, what to do?

Over the summer I need to realign my priorities to include me. Of course, I am not indispensable but my role is, and I need to highlight this explicitly to my line management.

I need to raise the profile of my teams and their functions within the Trust. We need to work together more visibly. I can no longer be someone who works at one location.

I need to update my job description so that it more realistically matches the practical day to day, if not for me then for the poor unsuspecting individual that inevitably comes after me.

I need to make a case for a salary that matches my new job description.

I need to make time to wear my strategic hat (not leave it to a glorious sunny Sunday morning, in the form of this blog!)

Sometimes the smallest remarks can result in a big shake-up of how we think about ourselves, our roles, our teams and how we fit into a strategic plan. What do you think? Are you a flight risk?

3 thoughts on “Detained without charge”

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