6 weeks to go until I finish! This term I am having to step back so that Joe can have a trial run at managing the Forest School. This was always part of the planned transition but it seemed so much easier when I was planning it last September. In reality, its hard! Its not really the thought of not doing the manager job nor the idea of not being there in September, its the bit in between, the transition from one role to the other that I am really struggling with.
I am a big fan of building good quality relationships as part of my leadership style. I love knowing people well, knowing what makes them tick, what support they need and how to motivate them. Its the complexity of each person and relationship that fascinates me and I spend a great deal of effort getting my professional relationships just right. Overall, it has been these relationships that have allowed me to find the success that I have and it is these relationships that I will miss more than anything.
I am having to make a conscious effort to stand back and let Joe take the lead on every aspect of running the place including the relationships with the staff team, the students and the schools who use us. I know that I have to do this to make the space for him to grow, I know it is what I need to do but boy I am struggling. I am very lucky because he is doing a great job of it and I am happy to report that I have had very few moments when I have thought…..”Bloody hell Joe, I wouldn’t have done it like that!” However, it is already leaving a hole in me. People have stopped coming to me for advise and decisions and are going to Joe instead. This leaves me feeling a little useless and without a purpose.
I did a lot of thinking about this over the weekend, ironically while I was making things in my shed that people have ordered. My conclusion is that I do still have a use and a purpose, its just changed. My role is to work with children a lot more (I’m loving this bit)demonstrating good practice to other staff and of course to be supportive to Joe. Being supportive will come in a variety of ways over the next month or so but I think the most important way is to give him the trust, respect and space to do things the way he thinks is right. Support often isn’t about making big gestures, its about the small and subtle bits, the bits that good quality relationships are made of. Joe and the whole staff team’s professional relationships with me are changing but that doesn’t mean I don’t offer support, its just going to look different.