16 Jun

So what has well-being got to do with the decisions we make? 20 years ago I sat down outside the PRU I was heading up and made a stupid decision. I didn’t know it was a stupid decision, to others it may have seemed like a perfectly reasonable decision, but it was a stupid decision non-the-less. I decided to leave my post. 

Time moves on, careers develop and change, but for years I’ve been reflecting, analysing and just plain old chewing away at that decision. I’ve come to realise that the reason that it was a poor was because although I was great at my job, was hitting all my targets and markers, I was not ‘well’. In fact I was really, really not well. The signs? Too much alcohol, too little sleep, erratic emotions … and rubbish decisions. The cause was a combination of huge hours getting the Unit to work properly, the stress of managing the kids and staff on their journey from nowhere to somewhere, and a feeling of being isolated, dislocated  – that loneliness of leadership we sometimes feel. And it’s tough having to be front, centre and out there for everyone, everyday, as you turn things around. 

The great  decision would have been to stay in post, asked for some effective support, and continued making the difference for that community. And part of me still wishes that I had been able to make that decision. But 20 years later my work with leaders has led me to the realisation that we need three things to be able to make that great decision; mastery of our job role, awareness of what is happening around us, and a sense of personal well-being. You could say that this hinges on knowing what we do, knowing what is happening, and knowing who we are! I’m pretty sure I’d lost myself somewhere in the work. 


Postscript It’s true that every cloud has a silver lining  - the Unit had a wonderful, kind and talented deputy who was able to pick up the work and run with the team and the kids and do an amazing job for the years that followed (you know who you are!).

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