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At the start of the school year we’re naturally more inclined to invest social capital in our students … but also our colleagues.

At the end of the year, we sometimes tend to withdraw that capital and can eventually end up running a relationship on an empty bank account.

That’s probably not ideal.

I’ve come to believe that now is not the time to call in favours and lean on stretching stretched people even further.  In fact, with just a few weeks in the school year, I’d suggest flipping the habit and investing now.

I refer to these as UPAs – Undeserved Positive Antecedents.

They’re undeserved as in they’re often best delivered to a colleague or student who is struggling and not contributing positively.  Frankly, it’s that person who’s not much fun to be around right now.  They need a UPA far more than deserve it.

The positivity part lets us know that the act needs to generate a smile.  A coffee?  A treat?  A break?  A yard duty done?  A kind post-it note strategically placed?  A slightly inappropriate joke shared?

An antecedent is a condition or trigger for the next behaviour and it’s simply worth wondering what this colleague or student might do next if you make them smile.

Don’t wait for people to earn your positive regard at the very time they need it the most.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. Places in The Inner Circle for 2023 are now rapidly filling.  If you’d like to be personally mentored by yours truly, you’d better get a wriggle on.  Want to know more about The Inner Circle? Join me for a free webinar here.

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