Flexible, supportive leaders – are you one?

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As a new member of a team there is always that apprehension when you start things like: will I meet their expectations of me? Will I fit in with the team?

For working mums there is the extra question – will they support me to juggle motherhood commitments and work? Will they work with me to succeed in this balancing act or will they make it harder?

Well I can honestly say, as I type, that the leaders in my team have come up trumps. Before new year I was on a local walk, pounding the streets in tier 4 and telling a close friend about my new role, the team’s values and ethos around flexible working and their open approach to one another. She turned to me and said “you must feel like you’ve won the lottery!”

Well, this was further confirmed as approximately 2 months into my role and a new lockdown is introduced. Overnight, I’m having to consider how I’m going to juggle work and home schooling two children. Initially, the enormity of it weighed heavy, it felt like an overwhelming task. However, I needn’t have worried about work – as managers clearly and collectively gave the response that: we will support you 100% and be flexible where you need to. It was what I needed to hear and gave me the chance to think clearly and effectively about how I could make it work with their support (at a time when I’d also increased my hours to full time).

What would have happened if that wasn’t the response I’d heard? How would that have impacted my stress levels and therefore my efficacy as an employee and my children’s well-being and mine as I try to juggle their needs, my own and my work?

From my personal experience what I can say is “A simple message of flexibility, trust and support makes all the difference”.

Written by Kaye Purkis, GMTS Leadership Development Administrator
Midlands Leadership and Lifelong Learning

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