Tony Gurr

Becoming a more emotionally intelligent LEADER…

In Educational Leadership on 03/09/2011 at 9:59 am

Call it what you will…EQ (or EI), the people “stuff” or even “Conscious Leadership”

Emotional Intelligence is here to stay! 

…Sorry, Mr. Soprano – SIR, BOSS, my CAPO-my CAPO!

 

In an earlier post, I told you that Tom Peters believes that the world today needs leaders who:

  • Care
  • Show respect to all (and say “thank you” more often)
  • Reward people skills
  • Win people over
  • Focus on intangibles
  • Teach, teach, teach (OK – I might say “Learn, learn, learn”)
  • Share leadership
  • Foster open communication
  • Create opportunities to lead
  • Relish diversity
  • Promote difference
  • Fuel enthusiasm

The internet is today awash with advice for 21st Century Educational Leaders – these leaders are not only 21st Century Learning Specialists, they are also:

Yesterday, I also mentioned the work of educators like Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen who believe that all leaders (and there are many all over our schools and colleges) need to think more about their own “consciousness”:

 

This notion of Conscious Leadership has been around for some time.

Deepak Chopra tells us we are beginning to see, thanks to information technology (those damn computers, again!), a paradigm shift from a material worldview to a consciousness-based worldview. This makes a great deal of sense – after all:

  • What is consciousness, if not information and energy that has become alive with self-referral? In other words, consciousness is information that responds to feedback, which is also information.

This self-refferred information, if applied to “what matters”, supports the process of “consciousness” becoming “intelligence” – and even more learning.

As a side-bar – for those of you that might be interested in learning more about this, Lance Secretan wrote a really interesting book in 2006 – “One: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership”. He also created a neat little acronym – CASTLE – to help us all remember what leadership is all about: 

  • Courage,
  • Authenticity,
  • Service,
  • Truthfulness,
  • Love, and
  • Effectiveness 

The combination of the last two of these is just music for the ears! Now, if I could just say all this to Mr. Sopranohe does not, I hear, read allthingslearning!

 

The Business Community gets this and we are seeing more and more discussion of conscious leadership and its role on organisational culture – along with advice that asks leaders to look at the nature of their own “shadow” (and how far that “shadow” reaches).

Howard Gardner gets this, too – wasn’t it “Mr. Frames-of-Mind” that helped us debunk the idea that intelligence is fixed at birth and helped us all realise that our brains are multi-dimensional muscles (more flexible than any computer)?And…muscles than can be developed with age, if exercised properly.

So, how should we exercise this muscle – to make it more emotionally intelligent?

 

A while back, I tried to develop a “12-Step Plan” to help teachers set up their own D-I-Y professional development process (if their schools were not helping them out as much as they should).

I thought I’d try the same for EQ:

STEP 1 – Read, learn and discuss more about emotional intelligence and conscious leadership (book learnin’ be good – sharing be better)!

STEP 2 – Know thyself (and know “others” and “context” more)! This needs a couple more steps…

STEP 3 – Try to become more aware of your own “emotional style”. Ask yourself – What do I do in more emotional situations? How do I try to avoid discomfort? What do I know about the emotions of those I work with (and how do I know this)? What role do emotions play in my organisation (and how do I know this)?

STEP 4 – Get to know yourself better by trying out a few of the many EQ assessement tools you can find nowadays – to understand your strengths and “soft spots” a bit more. Be careful – there is a lot of “rubbish” on the web!

STEP 5 – Focus on your own “listening skills” as a priority – listen in to others (and yourself) and see what lessons you can learn from feelings and emotions. And, remember “listening is often the best way to get your point across”!

STEP 6 – Be the change you want to see in your leadership style (OK – slight modification on what Gandhi told us) and work to increase positive feedback to yourself (and those around you) and increase your appreciation of others (try counting how many times you say “thank you” – each day)!

STEP 7 – Just do it! 

STEP 8 – Start small, begin slowly and focus on doing a few things “differently” and “well” (Rome was not built in a day…)!

STEP 9 – Don’t use technology – remember what we said; the people “stuff” (and learning) is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the headware and connections!

STEP 10 – If in doubt (and you have some “spare cash”), try attending a programme on EQ (but watch out for “EQ sharks” – those buggars that read-a-book and tell-the-world). Hey, if you can do it (and we do not do this enough in education, at all) – get yourself a “coach” (but remember – you get what you pay for)!

STEP 11 – Remember “best practice” is seldom ever enough (and the attitude of “fake-it-till-you-make-it” is quickly sussed out by others) – it is, more often than not, about somebody else’s solution to somebody else’s problem. Surely, it’s better to heed what Covey tells us about the “end” and “bearing it in mind” – and look for “Next Practice” in ourselves! 

STEP 12 – Always my favourite – remember: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference…

 

Hey, I’m getting better at this “12-step thing” – but then again, I’m sure you have some other ideas!

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