School Business Affairs February 2021

30 FEBRUARY 2021 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS Positive thinking is a key skill for school business managers. Positive Thinking and the School Business Manager By Working SBM WELLNESS E ven the most optimistic among us will tell you that they have dark times. Times when all seems lost. When all the work done has come to nothing. Weeks when it is hard to see the whole wood for all the nonsense trees that keep springing up around us. There is no doubt that positive thinking is a key skill for the school business manager. I refuse to be outwardly negative, however hard it might seem, and however hard oth- ers may be trying to bring me down. The number one thing to remember is that it is OK not to be OK. It’s not always easy maintaining a hold on a positive atti- tude, especially with all the conflicting demands we deal with on a daily basis. How To Maintain a Positive Attitude Perhaps if you have some extra insight on this you’ll let me know, but here is what the experts say . . . Focus on the positive. Of course, negative is there and it is important to accept that in order to see the whole picture. But don’t dwell on what is negative. Try thinking “well that didn’t work, maybe if I try it this way. . . .” Take a moment, reflect, and move on. When things don’t go your way, consider whether, in the grand scheme of things, it is really that important. I look back on times in my life when I’ve been miserable and con- sider what the impact really was. It’s usually positive in the longer term. Recognize that optimism leads to oppor- tunity. How many times have you taken a chance on something and it worked out? The successful grant bid that was a long shot. Appointing the wild card candidate into your team who you now couldn’t manage without. Speaking up in a strategy meeting which resulted in a new direction for your school. Share your positive attitude, even at the end of term. Optimism is catching and can inspire others who may be in need of a mood-boosting smile. Remember, however positively intended, if what you are doing undermines others, it will be seen as negative. Listen to what you are being told (or not told) to gauge how your actions are being perceived. Keep a Balanced Perspective Of course, sometimes it is counter-produc- tive to be completely blind to the negative. That new roof will leak however optimisti- cally your builder tells you it won’t. The extra funding you are being promised prob- ably won’t cover an over-stretched budget going into deficit. If you consistently take on too much, no amount of working in the evening is going to stop you from burning out eventually. Ensure you keep the bigger picture in your head. Take a strategic view and put steps in place in case the worst should happen. There is no doubt that it is human nature to warm to a positive personality. Someone who keeps smiling. Who keeps reassur- ing everyone that it will be done in time (whilst peddling furiously behind the scenes to ensure that it is). That’s how effective change management works. The person who will continue to work happily with even the most trying of col- leagues and who will pick themselves up and go again when things don’t quite turn out as expected, is the person we all want to work with. WorkingSBM is a school business manager in the UK. This article is adapted from her May 27, 2020 WorkingSBM blog at NYUL/STOCK.ADOBE.COM