Conflict in School

By |1 February 2022|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , |

As a child, I never saw my parents argue. One of my friends did. His parents I mean. Constantly. Looking back we both missed out. He never knew peace and I didn't have a clue how to navigate disagreements or conflict. My own children saw (see) my wife and I argue from time to time. But they also saw what happened next: the de-escalation, the quiet after the energy's spent, the discussion, the apology, the resolution and the moving on. So far they seem to do the same, with partners who also get how conflict works. I guess our responses [...]

Pick One Battle

By |29 November 2021|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , , , |

A colleague and good friend shared this: It's beautiful in its simplicity - but deceptively simple. That's because the injunction to 'let go' presumes knowledge of the thing that was picked up, and how sticky, or heavy it's since become. Of what, specifically, am I letting go? And how do I, specifically, put it down (and then not pick it up again when no-one's looking)? We humans are skilled at mentally revisiting issues about which we care, yet over which we have no direct control. Think about the future or the past or the news. Just three small examples for [...]

Scripts for Being Radical

By |7 September 2021|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , , , |

Radical Candor Do you care about the people you work with? Do you challenge them if they need to change? Do you care for them and challenge them at the same time? You've likely heard of Kim Scott's 'Radical Candor' (book at Amazon) advocating the principles of 'Caring Personally AND Challenging Directly'. Omission of one or both, argues Scott, makes for team dysfunction and reduced productivity. Prioritising care can lead to 'ruinous empathy': necessary (and difficult) professional feedback is withheld through fear of upset or 'rocking the boat'. Overemphasising challenge is aggressive and causes fear, disengagement and conflict. If a [...]

7 Billion Stories and How to Hear Them

By |24 July 2021|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , |

You don't know what it's like to lead a school through a global pandemic unless you've led a school through a global pandemic. - a statement to which many of the leaders with whom I work will relate. And it speaks a wider truth: everyone on Earth has a unique pandemic story to tell. Tales of tragedy and transformation; of reflection, resilience or resignation; of anger, of loneliness; of division and unity; selfishness, cruelty and, thankfully, of kindness. How to Tell a Story Look to stories that have already been told to find the kind of narrative you need. Booker's [...]

Advice to a Bully

By |3 March 2020|Categories: Leadership|Tags: , , , , , , |

You do realise that 10% of these people will dislike you as soon as you open your mouth, don't you Mike? I'm just about to present to 150 senior leaders in education when my co-presenter offers this heartening advice. She's a psychologist specialising in recruitment. Companies pay her to spot sociopathic and psychopathic behaviours at interview. They argue her fee is far, far less than the price of employing a bully. Her helplful observation is actually empowering and emancipating. Get over expecting everyone to like you or your message. People see the world in very different ways and that's OK. [...]

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