The one key skill that links all SBMs by Andy Heron

Through social media, it is very easy these days to be able to network with all kinds of people from different backgrounds up and down the country. I find it fascinating that you are able to interact with people from all kinds of walks of life and professions. Discussions can be about anything and everything but when speaking to my #SBLtwitter colleagues recently, we got on to the topic of what makes a good #SBM #SBL or #SBP?  What sets us apart? What key skill is key to our success?

It became clear, to me at least, that we are a resilient bunch. We seem somehow to possess a vital ingredient in our DNA that means that, no matter what is “thrown” our way, we always seem to overcome the issue, problem or setback and are able, in the majority of cases, to deliver a successful result, outcome or achievement.

Even looking at what resilient or resilience actually means, seems to describe our very being:

“strong, tough, hardy, flexible, pliable”

“the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

The role of the SBM et al is a rewarding one but equally a tough and often a difficult one.  Possessing resilience is essential in most professions these days, but the toughness part is vital.  Not tough as in ready for fisticuffs but tough to deal with issues in a fair and practical manner, not being afraid to take calculated risks to succeed or find a solution to a problem. Not frightened to meet a situation head on and get “stuck in” to make sure the rules, policies and procedures of the school and the SBM role are and is being adhered to.

The number of hats that the SBM will wear in a day, week, month or year will necessitate our need to show resilience when dealing with any of our stakeholders. We will need to recover quickly when things don’t quite go our way or the way that they were planned. That’s because, quite often, it is the SBM as the solitary figure that has to recover quickly in order to rescue the situation. It is the SBM who will have to demonstrate that much needed leadership to others that will see success shine its light at the other end.

I recently attended a conference where a speaker had the delegates captivated with her tales of successfully rowing the Atlantic Ocean single-handedly with zero ocean-rowing experience, battling numerous hourly, daily, weekly challenges to get to the other end.  Now that took sheer courage and resilience.

We as school business professionals will not encounter mountainous seas, sharks, whales or massive container ships but we do experience the challenge, the solitary nature of our role, the loneliness at times and the fear of things going wrong and the consequences. However, if I am honest, I suspect that most of us thrive on these conditions and wish to excel to make our environments the best they can be.

For someone unknown reason I have a bouncy ball in my office although I am not sure how I acquired it, or where it came from. However, I got to thinking that it has similar properties to that of the SBM or at least how we, as SBM’s et al, are viewed.

Just like the ball we also are viewed to possesses boundless energy. Just like the rubber ball if it is dropped it will bounce back and carry on without very much disruption, very similar to the perception of the SBM.

In conclusion, resilience or being resilient is not some superpower that we can readily buy in a shop or online and add it to our personal arsenal or CV overnight. It is a quality that is, certainly in my experience, built on over time and honed to a point where having it, has enabled me to ensure that the role I do is of benefit to my school.

Happy bouncing...boing boing!