Just Bigger Versions!
There is no denying we love working with teachers – they are always so keen to learn and never once do we question their commitment and determination to make a difference to the lives of the young people they teach. Certainly for the teachers we’ve met along the way, and believe us that’s quite a few, it really is much more of a vocation than a job.
Having said that invariably we find they are so focused on the children they actually miss something that could transform how their school operates which is right under their nose!
We had an example of this recently when we were working with a particular head teacher, but to be honest if you’re a parent you can probably relate to this situation as well. One of the activities we ask the participants on our 2 day Inspirational Leadership programme to do is list all of the current people challenges either they and / or the school are dealing with. Usually this results in a long list of issues, including things like people not taking responsibility, bad attitude, poor work standards etc. You get the picture. However on every single occasion we have done this exercise one thing is always true – the behavioural and attitudinal issues outweigh any skills / training issues, often as many as three times more. So when we decided to do this same activity with this particular head teacher we were working with, it was no surprise we got a similar response.
We then set about exploring why this is might be the case, and it soon became clear this head teacher didn’t feel equipped to deal with the behaviour of their staff. They explained it felt too hard as it would risk upsetting people and damaging the relationships they had with them, which in turn they feared would damage morale.
While we did understand this, we still had a few questions. The first of which was: ‘if the children were behaving in the same way as you are describing how certain members of your staff behave would you let them get away with it!’ The answer we got back was a resounding ‘no!’ So we asked: ‘why not?’ The head teacher replied saying: ‘because we have a duty to them, we care about them and we want them to understand what is and isn’t acceptable’, or at least words to that effect. You can probably guess where we’re going with this, but our next question was: ‘so what’s different about the adults in your school, aren’t they just bigger versions of the same human beings? As a leader, don’t you have the same level of responsibility to them as you do the children, don’t you also care about them and want to help them understand what is and isn’t acceptable?’
It’s fair to say at this point we could hear a pin drop and literally see the proverbial light bulb over the head teacher’s head. It was perhaps a harsh reality for this particular individual, but the truth is, there is no better profession equipped to deal with behaviour and attitude problems as teachers because they do it all the time with the children!
All we had done was to help this particular head teacher step back and look at things logically and objectively – when we asked the question would you let the children behave in such a way it became a no brainer, of course they wouldn’t. But more often than not in the busy fast paced world of education people aren’t afforded this time to take a step back.
It was just a case of helping this person to realise they did have the skills to deal with the poor behaviour of their staff, because they use the same skills with the children all the time. They just needed a little guidance on how to translate these skills to use with adults.
In a nutshell, the head teacher realised that they needed to afford their staff the same level of care and respect as they did the children and their job was to help them, just as much as the children to be better human beings. After all adults are only bigger versions of the children.
If you would like to know more about our two day Inspirational Leadership programme, the work we do in both business and education and some of the practical tools we share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you. Alternatively check out our website for more blogs, videos and free hints and tips on all things leadership.
What others say about our work:
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“Best professional development training ever – blows NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) and LPSH (Leadership Programme for Serving Head teachers) out of the water”
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