Schools are people places filled with multiple relationships. This contributes to our stress levels as we have to work with a range of people, with different personalities and a vast array of factors impacting on their mood on any particular day.
One of the things that we know through working with a student who’s behaviour is challenging is that WE can’t change OTHER people’s behaviour. We can’t really FORCE another person to do something if they really choose NOT to. Successful behaviour management strategies provide an environment where students are ‘encouraged’ to make better decisions. We can’t change other people’s behaviour. Ultimately we can only change our own behaviour.
Understanding and accepting this concept can be helpful in managing our own stress levels. We need to be careful not to take on additional stress by worrying excessively about things that we can’t control. We can’t control the behaviour of others. Certainly we should do what we believe is the right thing to do but ultimately how other people behave is beyond our control.
There will always be some people who are ‘high maintenance’. They can appear to be unpredictable, unreasonable and hard to please. They might be parents or colleagues. They add to our stress and make our work more difficult.
Whilst we can NOT control their behaviour it can be helpful to monitor how we interpret their behaviour. It is human nature to observe other people’s behaviour and presume why they are behaving that way. The intentions we attribute to other people’s behaviour have a huge influence on how much their behaviour affects us. If we presume they are acting that way because they don’t like us or don’t respect us, then this presumption adds to our stress
Often we don’t know what is going on in the lives of other people such as colleagues or parents. We don’t know if they have had an argument at home that morning, are dealing with serious health issues or are grieving a significant loss.
As professionals we should ensure that we display appropriate behaviours to build trusting relationships with all people, including those who are ‘high maintenance’. However we also need to accept that we can’t change other people’s behaviour. We should always ‘do the right thing’ and make a 100% contribution towards effective relationships but we should not take on or ‘own’ the behaviour of others. Often there are factors beyond our control. We don’t know what else is happening in other people’s world!