As I head from one busy week into another busy week not only do I find myself looking forward to Christmas and a bit of a rest but I also find myself reflecting on the past week.

This week has been spent mostly with my head buried in my computer but on Thursday my faithful laptop was left at home as I headed off to a day long workshop as part of the NHS Leadership Mary Seacole Programme.  It was a fun day but a day of boxes, of being put into boxes and of being a little rebellious against the boxes.

boxesSome of our pre workshop work was to complete some questionnaires one of which looked at our learning styles.  With my learning style putting me in the “Converging” box meaning I prefer to learn by solving problems and finding solutions, I am very much a “do-er”and that I am apparently happier with the technical issues rather than social issues (being in social media and being a nurse both of which are inherently social I was pretty sure I didn’t agree with this last point at all!)  As the day went on we actually got to stand in our boxes, in a grid marked out on the floor we stood in the box that applied to us and we got see where everyone else in our group was.

box3During the lunch break we sat in smaller groups and I sat with a group of people I didn’t really know and one of them asked about the work I do in social media so I explained.  Everyone was very enthusiastic but as we were going back in to the workshop one person, in a very nice way, suggested that as I was far removed from frontline nursing and how could I really know what it is like and how could I know the challenges front line nurses face. Unfortunately there was no time to explain that actually, I am a nurse, I am still a nurse, not only do I still nurse on the frontline but also even if I didn’t I would still be a nurse.  I have to admit to feeling quite cross as I sat down … it felt like I had been put into another box.

Later on in the day our facilitator was explaining a model to us  –it looked like this:


box2A BOX !!! The more he explained that if we are in tune to our self (self awareness) in the first box the more this effects the other boxes.  Well I think I must have been boxed out as the more I looked at it the more I didn’t get it … the picture just wasn’t right.  As the facilitator drew to a close he asked everyone how they felt about the model, so I raised my hand and said “This may sound a little odd but the shape of it is making me uncomfortable!” The people in the room laughed a little but by this point I was feeling more than a little rebellious so I carried on and explained that I really had no idea what he was talking about until I realised that actually the model was the wrong shape.  In a model where one action has impact on others a box only serves to confuse people ….. well the facilitator changed the shape of the box to a circle with self awareness in the middle and suddenly it all started to make sense.

Feeling a little braver and having firmly rebelled against boxes I started to look at the rest of the day a little differently and started to apply some social media and nursing thinking to the day.  In social media and nursing the individual is king.  It’s all about the person, it’s all about being centred on one person at one point I time.  Seeing the individual and not the box they are in.  As I looked beyond boxes that afternoon I started to see that leaders come in all shapes and sizes, they come from all backgrounds, they have a variety of skills – some are noisy and forthright and some are quiet and shy but each person has their own qualities to bring.  One of the great things about the NHS Leadership Programme is that it is bringing all of these people together and it’s giving them the tools and support to empower them to lead. It was a great day and I certainly learnt a lot not only about models, theories and frameworks but also about the people in my group.  However I am not so sure about boxes.  I don’t like being put in one at all! I like to keep things simple and just be individually and uniquely me.

One thought on “Boxes

  1. Great post Teresa. I have always disliked the boxes that these sorts of models put us into. We need great inspirational people. I dont want to lead the pack, but would rather that I pointed the way, gave people the skills , then watched them run ahead.

    I have only just come across you on twitter, but can already tell that you are one of those inspirational people. I am feeling a great urge to inspire people through social media, so loving twitter at the moment. Have been invited to one of the senior nurses meetings in our trust to help them understand how twitter and social media can help them. I suspect I might get carried away, but plan a very hands on approach, getting them to experience twitter etc.

    My “style” of learning, teaching, working has changed over the last few years, and whilst I have been in one ‘box’ I think I just expanded my box to encompass many others.

    I am fast becoming a social media evangelist, and, if you can forgive me, people like you are inspiring before you are leading.

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