Wellbeing increases your health and happiness, it allows you to be calm, present in the moment and resilient. It encompasses the health of the whole person – physical, mental, social and emotional.
Our wellbeing can change moment to moment, day to day, year to year, and can be influenced by what’s happening in a specific moment and the actions that we take.
ACECQA is continuing to promote Educator wellbeing as an important factor in achieving exceeding in Quality Area 4.1 and 4.2 and 5. ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone states that when Educators have a strong sense of wellbeing they are better equipped to:
- be responsive to every child
- develop rich, respectful relationships with each child
- develop a deeper understanding of each child.
Wellbeing helps us:
- stay resilient when times get tough
- build social supports and self-efficacy
- emerge from our challenges even stronger, knowing we have the ability to cope with adversity.
Wellbeing isn’t one giant step, it’s lots of little steps that allow you to become more mindful and calmer in your day-to-day tasks. At a service level wellbeing has been shown to improve work performance, reduce absenteeism, and improve the culture of the organisation.
A strong sense of wellbeing contributes to good mental health. It also helps to protect us from feelings of hopelessness and depression, acting as a ‘guardian’ of our mental health. Mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness rather it’s a state of overall wellbeing.
There are five main factors that contribute to our wellbeing. These ‘building blocks’ of wellbeing are easily remembered as the acronym ‘PERMA’:
Feelings of pleasure, happiness, satisfaction, comfort. We can take responsibility for our feelings, cultivating happiness and gratitude.
Living an engaged life, being absorbed and connected to activities to the point where we lose track of time and effort (flow).
Connections to other people and relationships give us support, meaning and purpose in life. Positive relationships have been found to have an enormous influence on our wellbeing.
Being part of and working towards something that’s much larger than yourself rather than purely pursuing material wealth.
Pursuing success, achievement and mastery of things for their own sake can build self-esteem, self-efficacy (useful in tough times) and a sense of accomplishment.
Working on each of these factors can help us flourish in all aspects of life. It’s good to know there are lots of things we can do to enhance our wellbeing. We can all learn new ways to feel more positive emotions, have stronger relationships and find meaningful work.
The following elements all contribute to wellbeing and resilience:
- finding your strengths and using them
- Creating flow in your daily tasks and
- Mindfulness and meditation
Find out more about building wellbeing strategies at The Mindful Leader and Wellbeing Conference.
Each year for Christmas we head to the beach, swimming and surfing are some of my favourite things to do over the summer holidays. Going to the beach allows me to spend time with family and get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
The beaches are normally packed with people, and lifesavers have the unenviable task of keeping everyone safe. Not only do they need to cater for a wide range of swimming abilities, they also need to factor in the ever-changing surf conditions. The beach is kept safe by everyone swimming between the flags. Lifesavers position the flags in the safest position on the beach and they can rescue swimmers if they get into trouble.
People who choose to swim beyond the flags not only risk their safety but also the safety of others. At any given moment your behaviour either puts you between the flags or beyond the flags.
“People may hear your words but they feel your attitude.”
The same applies to teams. Some attitudes are going to promote team cohesiveness and others are going to destroy it. Attitudes are important because it’s the feeling you give off to the team. Attitudes are more important than education, qualifications or skills. Attitude is the little thing that makes the biggest difference.
Attitudes that are between the flags are those that help the team succeed. Attitudes such as Educators taking ownership and responsibility. They see solutions, take-action and support each other. Being between the flags is knowing that you can’t always control the situation but you can choose your attitude. When all Educators are between the flags, success just seems to flow.
“Bad attitudes will ruin your team.”
When working in small teams in a high-pressure environment, it is natural that some bad attitudes might creep into the team. Attitudes that are beyond the flags are denial, blame and excuses.
When Educators are beyond the flags, you hear statements such as ‘I didn’t do it’ or ‘it’s not my fault’. These attitudes derail the team and undermine success. When Educators behave beyond the flags we see them blaming, fault finding and ignoring each other.
When you have staff beyond the flags, your team can get stuck in a victim cycle and getting back on track is almost impossible. In this situation, people pretend not to know that there’s a problem, deny its existence, or remain unaware of its effects. Beyond the flag attitudes are a problem because tough issues remain unresolved. Small problems become even larger ones and instead of moving forward, people consider themselves victims and point fingers at others.
“For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.”
When your team chooses to be between the flags, they take 100% responsibility for their actions and outcomes. They see a world full of possibilities, where they have the power to choose their own attitude, to choose their own way. Educators that operate between the flags believe life is about how you perceive it. They look for the good in bad situations and turn the negatives into a learning experience. These people take ownership and responsibility for everything that happens.
Great leaders set the flags with their team. Decide what “good” looks like, support the team to clearly articulate what attitudes and behaviours do we demonstrate when we are at our best. These will be the attitudes and behaviours that are between the flags and the attitudes we are willing to accept from each other. Conversely, the team will need to identify which attitudes and behaviours are beyond the flags, attitudes that we don’t want to exist in the team.
Having the team decide the attitudes and behaviours they expect from themselves and each other is the first step in moving from a mentality of blame to an attitude of trust, confidence and positivity. It’s a great activity to do with your team this month and help bring a positive attitude this Christmas.
To find out more about how Farran Street Education can help bring a positive attitude to your team click here.
On 26th Aug we kick off The Early Childhood Management Series.
This 5-part live webinar series tackles complicated topics such as; time management, conflict, gossip, and trust. We provide simple proven strategies that you can use to deal with these issues and get the best out of your team.
The following webinars are included in the series:
1. Time Management For Managers
2. Building Strong Leadership Teams
3. It’s A Knockout – Resolving and Preventing Non-Functional Conflict
4. Building Trust In EC Teams
5. Eliminating Gossip and Promoting a Positive Culture.
Time Management Quiz
Time management is an essential management skill for any Teacher, Nominated Supervisor or Co-ordinator. Being time poor is perhaps the biggest hurdle in being an effective manager in an early childhood education and care setting. So many people say “If I didn’t get so many interruptions, I might actually be able to get something done!”
Without good time management skills, you’re left dealing with only the most urgent issues with no time to plan, review or reflect. Trapped in a never-ending cycle of urgent tasks you remain paralysed unable to lead and manage effectively.
The quiz below will help you to understand how effectively you manage your time.
As a leader, we understand you spend your day wearing many different hats in the workplace.
Sometimes it can be challenging to choose the right professional development opportunities for you and your team. To help save you time in trying to analyse the development teams of you and/or your team, we have developed the Leadership Learning Plans.
These cards are designed to help you understand the skills and development needs of certain roles. We have also included some suggested some Farran Street Education programs which assist you in forging the right path for you or your team members.
Over the coming weeks, we will be releasing these Leadership Learning Plans and encourage you to take them back to your team to discuss!