I have always hoped that becoming a MAT would enable us to grow even better leaders of schools and school systems. Globally, these are worrying days of alt-right and populist politics that appear to be making some of the lovely things in our culture well, less lovely. Children need role models who not only help them to sound clever with fronted adverbials and properly punctuated subordinate clauses, but who are also socially and emotionally aware. I doubt that psychological flexibility and good conflict management skills will ever be tested or prioritised in our system, but we can at least seek to develop this in our charges around the edges of the curriculum and in the centre of our relationships with them.
As a mediator, I found the work of Daniel Goleman, the coiner of the now-familiar phrase, emotional intelligence, to be a guide in developing good practice, good leadership and wellness generally. Here is a list what he describes as the competencies that may help us to evaluate our own EQ (emotional quotient). This is aimed particularly at leaders, but if you are in education, you are either leader of small people or bigger people, so this probably means you too:
Realistic self-confidence: You understand your own strengths and limitations; you operate from competence and know when to rely on someone else on the team.
Emotional insight: You understand your feelings. Being aware of what makes you angry, for instance, can help you manage that anger.
Resilience: You stay calm under pressure and recover quickly from upsets. You don’t brood or panic. In a crisis, people look to the leader for reassurance; if the leader is calm, they can be, too.
Emotional balance: You keep any distressful feelings in check — instead of blowing up at people, you let them know what’s wrong and what the solution is.
Self-motivation: You keep moving toward distant goals despite setbacks.
Cognitive and emotional empathy: Because you understand other perspectives, you can put things in ways colleagues comprehend. And you welcome their questions, just to be sure. Cognitive empathy, along with reading another person’s feelings accurately, makes for effective communication.
Good listening: You pay full attention to the other person and take time to understand what they are saying, without talking over them or hijacking the agenda.
4. RELATIONSHIP SKILLS
Compelling communication: You put your points in persuasive, clear ways so that people are motivated as well as clear about expectations.
Team playing: People feel relaxed working with you. One sign: they laugh easily around you.
Why not use this a mirror once you’ve read this. Do you see yourself here? Or, like me, does it give you a few things to work towards?