Leadership in Focus podcast series

Great schools need great leaders. School leaders play a vital role in providing every student in NSW public schools with a great education and the best start in life.

They have a positive impact in classrooms and on their staff. They guide teacher development and engage their communities.

The School Leadership Institute’s Leadership in Focus podcast series shines a spotlight on school leaders and explores the key issues and challenges they face.

Join School Leadership Institute Director, Joanne Jarvis, as she speaks with experts about leading with purpose and impact.

Episode 1 - Relational Trust

In this episode, SLI Principal Karen Maraga and senior lecturer and researcher in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong Dr Kylie Lipscombe, join SLI Director and host Joanne Jarvis to discuss relational trust, what it is and why it matters.

Joanne Jarvis (Intro)

School leaders play a vital role in providing every student in New South Wales public schools with a great education and the best start in life. They have a positive impact in classrooms and on their staff. They guide teacher development and engage their communities. Here at the School Leadership Institute, our mission is to support all New South Wales public school leaders, by providing world-class, evidence-informed, leadership development programs and resources. Our School Leadership Institute conversation series will explore the key issues and challenges of school leadership. We'll talk to experts and share their tips and experiences on leading with purpose and impact. I'm Joanne Jarvis, the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. Welcome to the Leadership in Focus series.

Joanne Jarvis

Hello and welcome to our first episode of the leadership conversations podcast series. I'm Joanne Jarvis and I'm the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. And today, we'll be discussing relational trust, what it is and why it matters for school leaders. With me today is Dr Kylie Lipscombe from the University of Wollongong and Karen Maraga, a Principal with the School Leadership Institute. It's a real privilege to have you both join me today, Kylie and Karen, as we discuss this really important topic.

Kylie Lipscombe

Thanks, Joanne. It's a real privilege to be here.

Karen Maraga

Thanks, Joanne. Really looking forward to having a conversation with you and Kylie.

Joanne Jarvis

So let's start by talking about what relational trust is. Kylie, you're very familiar with the research on relational trust. So can you talk to us a little bit about how relational trust is defined in the research?

Kylie Lipscombe

Um, I've been studying schools and leadership collaboration and partnerships for over 10 years now, and I think more and more often I'm seeing a greater recognition of the importance of relational trust in schools. While, years ago, research simply sort of gave courtesy or a nod to the importance of relational trust, we're now starting to see greater recognition and specificity, I guess, of its complexity and how important it is to not just know what it is and why it's important, but also how it can be built and sustained. There are numerous studies on relational trust, and while these studies include nuances in definition, it's most commonly defined around the interpersonal and social exchanges of people that sort of incur responsibilities or obligations from one another that are both personally and professionally beneficial. So, in other words, you know, relational trust really involves respecting, caring for and believing in the honesty and competency of our colleagues and our leaders.

Joanne Jarvis

That's a really powerful definition of relational trust Kylie. You mentioned the greater recognition of the importance of relational trust in schools. So, let's explore what the research says about its impact.

Kylie Lipscombe

Yeah, there are numerous studies on the benefits of relational trust in schools. Um, some prominent studies have found, um, really important direct relationships between trust and student learning outcomes. So, for example, and probably the most prominent study is by Bryk and Schneider in 2002, which was a longitudinal study of 400 Chicago elementary schools. And in this study they concluded that schools characterised by relational trust are actually three times more likely to improve their outcomes than others. Um, in a more local study in New South Wales of six primary schools conducted by Stephen Camiss and colleagues, he found that relational trust was a critical condition for cultivating a culture of care and collaboration. When leading change and innovation in schools. And this, I guess, was really similar to Bryk and Schneider's work, where they found that teachers are more likely to commit to innovation and change when there's high relational trust and that's coupled with a strong moral imperative to improve student learning. So I think, Joanne, you know what's important in these two examples, you know, which are two of you know, numerous studies on relational trust in schools is that relational trust, um, can and does improve student learning outcomes. Um, it improves the culture of care and collaboration in schools, and it does increase teacher commitment and motivation for change.

Joanne Jarvis

So what you're saying is that schools really do benefit from having a high culture of relational trust. So I'm wondering, then, what is it that these leaders who create these conditions so well are doing that enable relational trust to flourish in their settings?

Kylie Lipscombe

Well, if we look at Bryk and Schneider's research, they found four important dispositions of relational trust. So the first one is around social respect, which is when individuals listen to each other carefully and take each other's point of view into account through interactions. The second is personal regard, or the care with which people interact with each other. And this could mean, for example, going the extra mile. You know when a teacher stays after school to work with a student or a parent, which they so readily do on a daily basis. The third is roll competency. Do individuals have the knowledge and skill and capabilities to deliver on their promises? And the fourth is around personal integrity, the degree to which an individual keeps his or her word and is guided by a clear set of moral and ethical principles.

Joanne Jarvis

Thanks, Kylie. It seems to me that relational trust really is the glue that holds teams and organisations together and ultimately supports school and student improvement. And it's associated with the culture. So I'm going to bring you in here, Karen, and ask if you could talk to us a little bit about what this means for school leaders.

Karen Maraga

Thanks Joanne. What we do know is that schools are intricate and complex systems. They're founded on people and relationships. Helen Timperley talks to us about trust not being an all or nothing concept, but one that is dynamic, and it's highly sensitive to ongoing interactions and responses. High trust at one time does not mean that trust still exists at another, and as some leaders have experienced, it's easy to lose, and it can be difficult to regain. So this means as a leader, you can't take for granted that relational trust is always present. Rather, you need to be deliberate about creating and maintaining the conditions that enable it to be sustained.

Joanne Jarvis

That's so true, Karen and I'm thinking, that as leaders, it's about the structures, processes and procedures that we put in place to enable greater transparency around things like decision making, strong collaborative practices, a respectful feedback culture, and it's also about being intentional with the ways we connect with staff. It's that sense that relationships are building moments rather than meetings, I think.

Karen Maraga

Yeah, you mentioned collaboration and feedback, both so important for improving teacher practices and student outcomes. Viviane Robinson talks about building the trust while doing the hard work. So, for leaders, we know that we need to engage with the learning alongside our staff. We need to model the types of behaviours that Kylie's mentioned earlier.

Joanne Jarvis

So if you had to nominate the top three behaviours that you used as a principal to build and maintain relational trust in your school, what would you say?

Karen Maraga

I think one of the core elements for me was to be able to be a really good listener and ask good questions to seek the points of view of others to really intentionally be curious and in asking those questions, really seek to understand, not to jump to conclusions and make assumptions too quickly. Secondly, having a solutions based focus, one that enabled me to explore with others different ideas and perspectives to bring teams together, seek feedback and develop our own shared way of moving forward and tackling complex problems, and looking at school improvement. And the third was about me being open, honest and frequent in communication because we know as leaders, while it's important to develop and maintain relational trust with our staff and students, we also need to develop and maintain it with our broader community. We know that maintaining trust is ongoing. It includes both that presence and transparency. We need to have a genuine care and interest in the school and its community, and we do demonstrate this as leaders through our actions. We need to be approachable. We need to make time. We able need to be able to show that we're really attentively listening to the concerns and value the feedback and input of those who are part of our broader school community. In doing all of these things, we promote a shared vision and a positive attitude in our schools.

Kylie Lipscombe

Joanne, do you mind if I just add one more strategy also to Karen's list? I'm really drawn to work associated with developing and using team norms when working in teams. So these norms are developed together by the team, they're agreed on by the team. But also importantly, there's a peer accountability to withhold these team norms. Team norms might include being on time to meetings or not accessing emails during meetings. And these examples, I think, really demonstrate attention to working well together by prioritising the behaviours and actions required for effective team meetings, which we know is a key characteristic of leading highly effective teams.

Joanne Jarvis

Yes, Karen and Kylie, your points have really resonated with me because they identify the how of leadership, which we know is so vital to support growth in teacher leader and student learning. What would be your advice about the behaviours that would really damage your ability to create a culture of strong relational trust?

Karen Maraga

Mmm, decisions not made in the best interest of students. Breaking of confidentiality, not leading with integrity, not following through with what you say, really impacts on your own credibility.

Joanne Jarvis

Exactly. It's never walking past a standard that you're not prepared to accept, is a really important tenant of leadership, don't you think? Kylie? What are some of the evidence informed ways that leaders can create a culture of relational trust in their schools, in your view?

Kylie Lipscombe

I think the first thing to tackle in response to that question, Joanne, is really a common misconception in leadership that trust needs to be developed first, and this is simply not true. It can't be firstly developed before the real work is done. Instead, it really needs to be built by the actions of leading well. So, considering relational trust as an ecology in a school is a really useful lens for leaders to consider, I think. You know, how they can positively and successfully establish, maintain and sustain a culture, a relational trust within between their learning communities. So there's a really nice study completed in Canada based on principalship and relational trust. And in this study, the researchers identified that relational trust needs to permeate through the school, through very deliberate and strategic and ongoing attention. And they discuss the importance of establishing and sustaining trust through things like consistent integrity of actions, by breaking down a us versus them mentality between teachers and leaders, by dealing directly with past betrayals and by leading with a genuine care and strong ethical leadership when faced with complexity and difficulties. And I guess, you know, of course, like anything that we want embedded in a culture, leaders really need to sustain relational trust. When relational trust is permeated into the ecology of a school, people will truly listen. Um, and they'll hear one another. They'll engage in risks and innovation. You know, there'll be lots of laughter and joy and a genuine sense of care and passion. Morale will be really high, and leaders and teachers will have the knowledge, the processes and the courage to tackle the hard work and the complex work of teaching and learning. And ultimately, when a school has a strong ecology of relational trust, all the work in schools is leading to better learning for all students.

Joanne Jarvis

You certainly described a place where I would love to work and learn. Such important advice that you've just offered us. In drawing this conversation to a close, it seems to me that there are structures and protocols that can be put in place to enable school leaders to create the conditions that we've described today. So, Kylie, what are some recommendations you could share for our listeners to explore this topic further?

Kylie Lipscombe

Yeah, I guess, um, there's a really nice framework developed by some Aussie researchers actually, Christine Edwards-Groves and colleagues, and their research is specific to middle leadership and relational trust. And from their research, they've actually developed five dimensions of practice, which include interpersonal, interactional, intersubjective, intellectual and pragmatic. And I know that sounds quite complex, but it actually is a really nice framework and quite a practical framework for any leader, but in particular, middle leaders to really think about their leading practices and plan for how they can establish and sustain and maintain relational trust in their schools. I also gravitate towards dialogue and communicative spaces, as I think it's sort of not only the actions but the language used that can build relational trust. So, for example, when making decisions, leaders can ask, 'is it OK?' Um, and that really shows a genuine interest in other people's contributions. Leaders can clearly state what they'll do and what they won't do, and that really shows transparency in their actions. Leaders can tell people that they'll give them time to think before they are asked to make a decision, and that shows people that they appreciate their feelings when they can be asking, you know, what they can do to help and support others. And that really shows, um, you know, that we're in this together.

Joanne Jarvis

When I reflect on the key points that I've heard today from the multiple insights that you have both shared with us, two that really stand out for me are the fact that developing trust needs to be deliberate and planned in order for it to be successfully embedded in the culture of the school, and it's complex, and it's complex because it's situated between people, relationships, interactions and actions that take time to build, but they can be so quickly broken. I really want to thank both of you for sharing your wisdom, your insights and your expertise with me today and our broader audience. And for our listeners please visit the School Leadership Institute website. You just have to Google it and it will appear and follow us on Twitter at NSWSLI. And thank you for listening.

Kylie Lipscombe

Thanks, Joanne.

Karen Maraga

Thanks, Joanne.

Episode 2 - Emotional Intelligence - P1

Episode 2 of the Leadership in Focus series is a two-part episode exploring emotional intelligence. In Part 1, SLI Director and host Joanne Jarvis is joined by SLI Principal Karen Maraga and the Chief Executive Officer of Genos Internal, Dr Ben Palmer, to break down what emotional intelligence is and why it matters for school leaders.

Introduction (Joanne Jarvis)

School leaders play a vital role in providing every student in New South Wales public schools with a great education and the best start in life. They have a positive impact in classrooms and on their staff. They guide teacher development and engage their communities. Here at the School Leadership Institute, our mission is to support all New South Wales public school leaders by providing world class, evidence informed, leadership development program and resources. Our School Leadership Institute conversation series will explore the key issues and challenges of school leadership. We'll talk to experts and share their tips and experiences on leading with purpose and impact. I'm Joanne Jarvis, the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. Welcome to the Leadership in Focus series.

Joanne Jarvis

Hello and welcome to our second episode of the Leadership in Focus podcast series. I'm Joanne Jarvis and I'm the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. In this two-part episode, we'll be discussing emotional intelligence.

Part 1 will examine what emotional intelligence is and why it matters for school leaders. In Part 2, we'll explore some strategies to support school leaders in understanding and using emotional intelligence.

With me today is Dr Ben Palmer from Genos International and Karen Maraga, a principal with the School Leadership Institute. It's a real privilege to have you both join me today, Ben and Karen, as we discuss this important topic.

Ben Palmer

Hi. It's great to be with you. It's a privilege to be here with you too, Joanne and Karen. Thanks for having me.

Karen Maraga

Thank you, Joanne. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to discuss today with you and with Ben.

Joanne Jarvis

So let's just start by talking about what emotional intelligence is. Ben, you're very familiar with the research on emotional intelligence. How is it defined in the research?

Ben Palmer

It's defined in the research a number of different ways. I think the most accessible and practical is as a set of skills that define how will we perceive, understand, express and respond to emotions, both those within ourselves and in others. Now, these skills are very important in school leadership, when you think about the context that school leaders are working in. If we just step back and think about that for a moment. I think school leaders are doing what I call a lot of emotional pivoting on a day-to-day basis. One minute, you could be promoting Student of the Week. The next, you could be helping a student through a personal crisis. Today, you might be helping parents think about how they're going to navigate flooded borders to get to the school, to pick up their children. You could be helping your staff cope with increased stress and uncertainty due to COVID. Suffice to say that leading schools involves what's called high levels of emotional labour and requires high levels of emotional regulation. And that's why the skills of emotional intelligence, as I've just defined them here, really relate to things like our wellbeing, our interactions, whether that be with staff, students or parents or other school stakeholders and carers, and how well we navigate those emotional pivots that I was talking about.

Joanne Jarvis

So you have alluded to the importance of these skills for leaders. Could we explore what the research says about the impact of strong emotional intelligence in schools?

Ben Palmer

Emotions really sit at the heart of how well we think and how well we behave. And we know that students perform well when they're in an environment that facilitates good thinking. And what I mean by that is pleasant feelings, by way of example, help students think more broadly, help students adapt more of a growth mindset. Pleasant feelings broaden and build the way we think and the way we engage. So students, for example, that are experiencing pleasant feelings, tend to ask more questions, listen more deeply and think more broadly about topics that are giving to them. Pleasant emotions facilitate learning generally and help students reach potential. So pleasant feelings come from effective school culture, where staff feel valued, cared for, consulted, informed, understood. And when parents feel properly communicated to, well engaged around the learning of their child. I should use the words parents and carers there. So strong emotional intelligence skills in school leaders and teachers generally help us pick up on the way students are feeling, help students navigate their own emotional world and help us demonstrate and role model emotions that we know are needed for good learning. It's not to say that negative emotions are bad. All emotions are good. Sometimes we learn the most from the most difficult life experiences we have, and that is true. Some anxiety can be good. Too much anxiety is generally bad, though, for learning. So all emotions are important, but generally, on balance, you want to have a school where students and staff are experiencing pleasant emotions and are responding effectively to unpleasant emotions.

That's why these skills of perceiving and understanding emotions, that self awareness and awareness of others, the skill of managing your own emotions and the skill of positively influencing the emotions of others, these are critical emotional intelligence skills. They ultimately lead to better wellbeing in staff and students and they ultimately lead to better learning because students are thinking more broadly and engaging more deeply around curriculum.

Joanne Jarvis

So would it be true to say that leaders who lead with high levels of emotional intelligence are able to respond to complexity more effectively?

Ben Palmer

Yes, because people who have high levels of emotional intelligence recognise that emotions are very context specific. So they require great perspective taking. So rather than, say, reacting to complexity, you're getting on the balcony and thinking about how to respond to complexity. I like this notion of reacting or responding, and I think what the skills of emotional intelligence do is catch ourself when we're on autopilot and be more intentional rather than reactionary to what's going on.

Joanne Jarvis

I'm wondering, Ben, if we could explore the notion of wellbeing and how emotional intelligence impacts not only on one's wellbeing but also on the wellbeing of others.

Ben Palmer

There's a very strong relationship between your level of emotional intelligence and wellbeing, and that is and occurs for a couple of reasons. I mean, at the heart of wellbeing is the way you feel. Self awareness helps you kind of gauge properly, if you like, things like your level of stress, your level of frustration and how it might be impacting you. Self management is the skill of emotional intelligence that really helps you effectively respond to emotions. And when we respond to emotions effectively, we generally achieve better outcomes. When we're reactionary with our emotions, we often do things that we later regret. We've all sent that email out of anger that we've wanted to get back later, once we've become more level headed about it. We've all had, in some metaphorical way, our toilet paper moment down at Woolworths. Um, even being very emotionally intelligent doesn't mean you don't have moments like that. But you minimise moments like that, and as a consequence, you generally are responding and adapting better to your environment. But the other reason why emotional intelligence relates so much to your wellbeing, is because it relates to the quality of your relationships. And the better our relationships, the better our wellbeing. Being lonely, by way of example, is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day in terms of its detrimental impact on your health. So think about these skills of emotional intelligence. If you're not self aware, you're not really cognisant of the way you're impacting on others. If you don't perceive and understand the emotions of others, it's very hard to be empathetic. If you don't respond well to other people's emotions, if you don't relate well to other people's emotions, it's hard to be effectively vulnerable and so on.

These things sit at the heart of the quality of your relationships and therefore your wellbeing. So really direct relationship between how self aware you are, how empathetic you are, how well you express emotions, how well you manage emotions and your wellbeing.

Joanne Jarvis

What you're saying makes so much sense and I'm just wondering, how do school leaders be more emotionally intelligent?

Ben Palmer

Well, there is a large number of things, and I hope we can go through a few of them today, but one of them really is context. The great starting place for being more emotionally intelligent is context. I think people who have high levels of EI really get very curious about the way people are feeling and they're not reacting. They are evaluating context and then taking a broader set of perspectives, if you like, into account before they respond to emotion. So context is key. How do you get context? Really through, I think, the mindsets of curiosity, of exploring what's underneath and around the emotion that you're seeing in front of you or that you have yourself.

Joanne Jarvis

Karen, I'm going to bring you in here. As a principal, how would you go about reading and responding to context?

Karen Maraga

I think it's really important to take the time to listen and seek to understand what the issues, the frustrations, the concerns or the challenges could be. But the parents, the teacher, the student that we're engaging with. To me, Joanne, as Ben said, it's around mindsets, and it links very nicely to the School Leadership Institute Leadership Mindsets, in particular, the mindset of curiosity. By this we mean as leaders, we remain intentionally curious. That we're really seeking to understand by asking questions and suspending judgement.

In this way, we're really able to clarify the issue, concern or problem before we move on to our response. As busy people, sometimes it can appear efficient to manage situations quickly, but that can also lead to us making assumptions about the issue. We think that we know the answer, and then we jump to conclusions. As a leader, the most important thing when we are dealing with highly emotive responses, is to make sure that each person feels that they have had an opportunity to be heard and understood. Once we get to that point, we can then look at working together to achieve a solution or an outcome.

Joanne Jarvis

Yes, I agree, and I think it's useful to tap into our deep reservoir of empathy and remember that when we find ourselves managing complex emotional situations with parents, teachers or students that we need to recognise that we are often speaking with people who may be feeling highly anxious or even fearful about their situation, that what might show itself as unreasonable behaviour might be a person who is really struggling with their situation and just simply needs to be heard. And I think in these situations, the expressions of genuine empathy, seeking to understand by remaining in a place of deep inquiry, such as our curious leadership mindset suggests, and being non-judgmental is really critical.

Karen Maraga

Yes, if you're able to manage your own emotions, you're able to think clearly before you act and therefore you are more flexible about considering different approaches to addressing a problem. You're able to create an environment where you've been seen as fair and someone who interacts with integrity and therefore someone who can be trusted.

Joanne Jarvis

Yep. So, Ben, how do you be contextually aware of emotions in a school context?

Ben Palmer

Well, as you were saying, I think you've got to have that mindset of curiosity and not be reacting to emotions, but to be reading them well and that involves, as you're saying, suspending judgement and really seeking to understand what's going on. I think Stephen Covey brings what we're talking to life through a story that he tells in his book 'The 7 habits of highly effective people'. I don't know it verbatim, but it goes along like this that there are 3 young children who are misbehaving on a fairly full train carriage. And it's clear who the father is to everybody who's getting annoyed and frustrated with the behaviour of these children on a train. And as the journey goes on, the sort of behaviour gets worse. And finally one of the passengers gets frustrated to the point where they go up to the father and say, 'why aren't you doing anything to manage the behaviour of these children?', in a kind of gruff voice to which the father then responds, 'I'm so sorry. I can't, I've just lost their mother'. And, of course, everybody on the train who was sitting there almost equally as frustrated as this person who decided to take action, sort of takes a deep breath and instantly sees the situation in a very different context and their feelings of frustration move to empathy and wanting to help. And of course, you know, you start seeing the behaviour of the children and the lack of behaviour and the father in a completely different way, and I think that parable is a great way of bringing that to life. Whenever we see an emotion, we don't always see the big context, or whenever we see behaviour, that's not quite right, we don't always see the big context behind it. And that parable for me really brings the to life the importance of curiosity, but also Joanne, the importance of empathy for leaders.

Joanne Jarvis

Mmm. It's a really powerful and moving example. And I think this might be a good segue to exploring more deeply the importance of empathy for leaders.

Ben Palmer

Yeah, absolutely so. Empathy is not feeling for someone. I like to think of that as sympathy. Empathy is feeling with someone. I think when we're demonstrating sympathy, which often disconnects us rather than connects us, we're saying things like, 'it'll be fine. Don't worry about it. Oh, don't overreact to that. Or gee, that's a bad situation. I feel for you'. That's really sympathy. Empathy is more, 'what's going on? Tell me how you're feeling?', and acknowledging those feelings and feeling with someone. The good thing about empathy is that just about all of us have the natural biology for empathy. We all have the mirror neurons and the wherewithal to be empathetic. And for anybody who'd like to see that in action, go into YouTube and type in, 'Amnesty International: 4 minutes of eyes contact'. There's many other examples of it, but Amnesty International has got a great little video in YouTube, where they bring people together who don't know each other simply to sit opposite each other and be with each other. And of course, when you do that, when you sit opposite a stranger and you look at each other, you do just naturally start to feel with each other. It's a context that ignites people's biology for empathy. We can ignite that same biology if we just take 6 deep breaths before we meet with someone. That 6 deep breaths, where you exhale for twice as long as you inhale. That engages your parasympathetic nervous system. It slows you down, and it helps you feel with someone. And that's really what empathy is all about. Empathy is a complex notion in the literature. There's a number of different things with it that are worth knowing. One is the empathy gap phenomenon.

This is a phenomenon where we often find it hardest to empathise properly for people who are experiencing hardships that we have experienced and got through ourselves. For example, a student who's bullied at school, who are they more, or better off, to go and see for empathy, a teacher who had been bullied themselves, or a teacher who had never been bullied? The answer, in large data, is the teacher who has never been bullied because they are less likely to fall into the empathy gap phenomenon. That is, they're more likely to feel with the person, rather than feel sympathy for the person, 'oh, yes, that's a terrible situation. Sorry about that'. They're more likely to simply acknowledge and hear, rather than the person who's been bullied themselves, who's much more likely if they're not paying attention, to jump into problem solving mode and indeed giving advice. And that can get in the way of empathy. So you can avoid the empathy gap phenomenon by remaining curious and by acknowledging and just being listening and asking questions.

Episode 2 - Emotional Intelligence - P2

Episode 2 of the Leadership in Focus series is a two-part episode exploring emotional intelligence. In Part 2, SLI Director and host Joanne Jarvis, SLI Principal Karen Maraga and the Chief Executive Officer of Genos Internal, Dr Ben Palmer, discuss strategies to support school leaders in understanding and using emotional intelligence.

Joanne Jarvis

Welcome back for Part 2 of our series on Emotional Intelligence.

Ben, I've heard you talk often about the EAR Model as a systematic way of being empathetic. Could you share that in a summary form with us now?

Ben Palmer

Yeah, thank you. I love the sort of acronyms or mnemonics like this that help us remember. So E in the EAR Model stands for Empathise. That's where we are, suspending judgment - think about that Stephen Covey parable - when we are demonstrating curiosity, we're asking questions, we're exploring context, we're acknowledging what we see. Once you've felt like you have empathised enough, one of the important things to do towards the end of that phase, if you like, of a conversation around EAR is to say to the person, what outcome would you like to see here in a perfect world or in a not so perfect world, what are some likely outcomes here that you'd like to see happen? That becomes a nice anchor point for the next part of the EAR Model, Alternatives, we say - would it be beneficial to come up with Plan A and B or even Plan A, B and C, a number of different ways or alternatives if you like, of responding to this situation? And there you really just ask the right questions, give the right advice on coming up with a couple of different options, couple of different alternatives, on how to respond. And then R in the EAR Model stands for the Response and here we want to really try and make that very tangible. So what actions are you going to take? When are you going to take them? What can I do? What support do you need etcetera? So Empathise, come up with some Alternatives and help the person really come up with them with a proper structured, actionable Response. The EAR Model for being, if you like, empathetic. So EAR can be a really great model for demonstrating empathy, but EAR and things like it often sound great in theory and can be difficult in practice, particularly in school environments where leaders are really busy.

Karen, I'd love to throw back to you here, Joanne if that's all right if I could do so, because like you've heard me talk about the EAR Model a lot, I've heard Karen talk about how busy leaders generally build good relationships in schools. Karen talk to us about some of those sort of rituals and routines that you've seen, busy school leaders engage in to build positive relationships.

Karen Maraga

Thanks Ben, I think referring back to Stephen Covey, Stephen Covey also talks about big rocks, but in this situation, I think it's the little things that matter. It's making time to be with your colleagues in the staff room. It's those incidental chats that getting to know people as people, not just members of staff. As a principal, I tried to build in a session each day where I would go to the staff room, be it for recess or part of lunch. This is a great way to get to form positive relationships with staff in a very different context.

Also, being in the playground every day talking to students know their name, be at the gate, greeting students and families as they arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon. This also helps to build relationships. You're making connections, demonstrating in your actions that you're an open and approachable leader. It's the notion of building the emotional bank account. It's much easier to have those challenging conversations or a difficult one with a parent or a student if you've formed a positive relationship in these informal interactions.

It's also I found, a great opportunity to find out information about families, to get to know them, see how they're going. For some people, some parents, some of our carers, schools are not places where they feel they can speak to a school leader, but by creating opportunities to have informal conversations, we can build a shared understanding of what together we can do for their child.

Joanne Jarvis

I really enjoyed the 2 of you speaking about this topic in such an eloquent way and listening to the examples that you've also shared, Karen. To me, basically what we're saying is you build relationships and trust in moments and it's about being a person first, rather than a position and therefore being mindful of the self who can form and deform relationships as a leader.

Ben Palmer

One of the things that I've enjoyed so much about my interactions with the School Leadership Institute, is whenever we meet, whether it's one on one or in small groups, I find that there's just a nice 5 minutes for general chatter before we get into the work. And to me that's one of those little routines, it's like an emotional check in. It's not even called that, it doesn't have to be so explicit. It's implicit, but it's very much cultural and I find that personally very effective. So things like check ins, asking people what's going well, what's something weighing on your mind? The other thing that I think a little ritual and routine around emotional intelligence, it doesn't take much time, so you combine it, wind it into busy schedules, is to be consciously using frameworks. What are you finding is going well? What are you not sure of or feel is really challenging? I think using frameworks helps people actually be vulnerable and think more deeply. It's like, how are you? Fine. I've got an open door policy, but is anyone coming in? You've got to be more intentional and I think a little bit more considered in how you go about it. And to me, things like practicing the EAR Model, taking 6 deep breaths before you meet with someone, having frameworks like what are you enjoying at the moment, what's a bit challenging? I think that's rare that some of the real work, if you like, comes out. The more you do, some of that sort of definitional work for yourself and just come up with those 3 or 4 little things that just become your way of being, the more natural they become and soon you'll find yourself doing them on autopilot, rather than having to really think about doing them.

Joanne Jarvis

Yes, I think leaders would come across as being much more authentic and genuine, when they, when they become a habit of mind or as you often say habit stacking, in the daily work of a leader. It's a phrase I love hearing you talk about. You've also talked a lot about the research in terms of how much time we should be spending on our emotional intelligence and developing that. Could you just elaborate a little more on that for us, Ben.

Ben Palmer

Yeah. So one of the things Genos does is EI-360 Assessments, where we look at how well school leaders are demonstrating emotional intelligence and we correlate those scores with overall leadership effectiveness. So we have a very accessible question in our survey, which is 'overall, how effective would you rate the leadership of this person'. And the correlation between how well you demonstrate EI and perceptions of overall leadership effectiveness is around 0.74. What that says to us is that our emotional intelligence accounts for about 50 per cent of the variants in effective leadership. So if you were to think about an apple pie that represented 100 per cent of what it takes to be an effective leader in schools, the research suggests that about 50 per cent of it is dependent on our emotional intelligence, because emotional intelligence is really at the heart of how well we relate to people, our wellbeing and therefore overall school culture and wellbeing. So I think what that says for me is, 50 per cent of the time, we should probably be working on 'the what', the real technical aspects of running an effective school and 50 per cent of the time, we should probably be really focused on the interpersonal aspects, how well we're demonstrating self awareness and empathy and executing on the EAR Model and things like that. I think when you really look at the research, it's a timely reminder that continuous improvement and finesse of our emotional intelligence is very likely to lead to better outcomes in terms of our own wellbeing, in terms of the wellbeing of our staff, in terms of the wellbeing and potential of our students.

Joanne Jarvis

You've touched on some of the behaviours that school leaders can focus on in developing their emotional intelligence, Ben. What are some of the recommendations you could share with our listeners, so they could explore this further?

Ben Palmer

Well, the internet is our friend and there's lots of great information on emotional intelligence. But I recommend, if you want to do a deep dive in this area, firstly, to really get to understand emotions. And I would really recommend Lisa Feldman Barrett's book 'How emotions are made'. She talks about emotions and context that we've talked about here a bit today. So that's a great book. The other thing I would really recommend listeners do is get to know their own personality, values and beliefs and try and focus on better understanding the personality, values and beliefs of those that they work with every day and as many stakeholders as they can, because those things really shape the way we feel about things. We all feel differently, just as we all think differently about situations that are occurring around us. So by getting to better understand your personality, values and beliefs, you can become more self aware of the things you create emotions around and you can become more aware of the way others feel about things.

And I personally found it very fascinating to get to know my personality and things like my ego and how they cause certain reactions and certain evaluations of events. And yeah, I think that's one way of becoming really more emotionally intelligent. I have to tell one quick little story. Um, one of my buttons, if you like is criticism, when I get criticised I tend to be a bit defensive. Now, where does criticism occur for me? Well in our house, it often occurs in the kitchen after work when a certain partner comes home and finds that the kids are a bit ratty and I haven't been managing them well. Have you been on your phone the whole time? What's been going on? So off goes my defensiveness button and I usually explain to Georgia, you know, if she had only been around here for the last hour, she'd completely understand why the kids were ratty and it's not because I've been on my phone and I go into quite a defensive mode. What I've kind of learned around curiosity and things like that. Where does that Button come from? And why is there that natural reaction to that to be defensive? When does it work? And when does it doesn't, you know, and 9 times out of 10, it doesn't work very well, defensiveness. That doesn't mean I always stop it, but it allows me to be a bit more intentional and say, 'oh this could be a good time to just shut up and listen'. And that's the sort of thing that can go on I think, from better understanding where your emotions come from, how you react to them, where other people's emotions come from and how they react.

It's that insight and that knowledge that allows you to make that emotional pivot and to be more emotionally agile.

Joanne Jarvis

I don't think you would be alone, I suspect in the example you've just provided to us and our listeners, Ben. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability around that too.

When I reflect on the key points that I've heard today and there's been many significant points that you've made, 3 that stand out to me would be: that demonstrating emotional intelligence is intentional and it's practiced; that understanding multiple perspectives is absolutely key; and that empathy is something we are all equipped for and do better at by being curious, by being open to asking questions, being asked questions of and deep listening and acknowledgement of the perspectives of others. I think those 3 particular points together, would enable us to grow in our emotional intelligence as leaders.

Does that represent some of the key points for you, Ben?

Ben Palmer

It really does. And I think that Karen's also really reminded us that we can define little rituals and routines around EI and build those into our busy work schedule. Whether it's the check ins in the staff meeting or walking the school ground at lunchtime, Karen, one of the things I've really learned from working with you is, defining those little rituals and routines is 50 per cent of getting there, I think.

Joanne Jarvis

What are your final thoughts, Karen.

Karen Maraga

I've really enjoyed the opportunity to really think deeply about emotional intelligence and the thing that I really take away from this is that sometimes we think that it's something that you born with, but it's it's something that can be developed, that you can put in place structures and processes and be very intentional in being more emotionally intelligent and that awareness that you can in fact work with that and work towards being, as a leader and then emotionally an aware leader, in terms of how you lead, as well as what you lead and that's something that's quite optimistic. I think as a leader, that's something that we can do and continue to do each and every day and that will not only enhance our own wellbeing, but it will create a culture within our school climate, that's a positive one for everybody to engage in.

Joanne Jarvis

Absolutely. And I think that's a good note to end what has been a fascinating conversation with both you, Ben, and Karen and I really want to thank you for joining me today and sharing your wisdom and insights with me and our listeners. And if our listeners are also interested in other resources from the School Leadership Institute, please go and visit our website. We're certainly expanding the resources available. And follow us on Twitter @NSWSLI. And thank you, Ben, thank you Karen.

Ben Palmer

Thank you, Joanne and Karen. It's been great to be with you both. Thank you for having me.

Karen Maraga

Thanks Ben. Thanks Joanne. It's been a pleasure.

Joanne Jarvis

Thank you for listening.

Episode 3 - Leadership through the lens of history

Catherine the Great might not seem to have much in common with Charlie Perkins, or John Curtin with Bob Hawke, but through their leadership, they made a significant difference in the context of their times. Episode 3 explores leadership through the lens of history.

Introduction (Joanne Jarvis)

School leaders play a vital role in providing every student in New South Wales public schools with a great education and the best start in life. They have a positive impact in classrooms and on their staff. They guide teacher development and engage their communities. Here at the School Leadership Institute, our mission is to support all New South Wales public school leaders by providing world-class, evidence-informed leadership development programs and resources. Our School Leadership Institute conversation series will explore the key issues and challenges of school leadership. We'll talk to experts and share their tips and experiences on leading with purpose and impact. I'm Joanne Jarvis, the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. Welcome to the Leadership in Focus series.

Joanne Jarvis

Hello and welcome to our third episode of the Leadership in Focus podcast series. I am Joanne Jarvis and I'm the Director of the New South Wales Department of Education's School Leadership Institute. Today we will be discussing leadership through the lens of history, drawing on examples that reveal the attributes of historical leaders who have made a lasting impact. We will examine some of the qualities of these different leaders and look at how they can be applied in the context of school leadership. With me today is Judy King. Judy served as a secondary principal of 2 schools for 19 years in New South Wales public schools. Judy lectures in history and politics at WEA in Sydney. It is the oldest adult education institute in the heart of the Sydney CBD. It's a real privilege to have you join me today, Judy, as we inject history into our podcast series, focusing on leadership

Judy King

Thanks very much, Jo, and it's a pleasure to be here.

Joanne Jarvis

Well, when we think about history, we often reflect not just on the big historical events, but on major historical figures, the leaders of their time who made a real difference. There are so many who spring to mind and of course, they're all unique. But there are also some common attributes that many historical leaders have shared. Attributes that help them influence and impact others. Catherine the Great might not seem to have much in common with Charlie Perkins, or John Curtin with Bob Hawke, but I think Judy, as we discuss their leadership attributes, we'll be able to pinpoint some commonalities and the ways they made a significant difference in the context of their times. So, let's start with identifying some of the key leadership attributes, which would define effective leadership through your historical examples. Judy, how about we start with moral purpose, because it's just so fundamental to who we are as leaders?

Judy King

How do we know that a leader is leading with moral purpose? Well, we know that they are behaving within an ethical framework and that they're perceived as ethical within their organisation. And, of course, in a school context that would be the students, the teachers and the wider community. We want to know that school leaders are behaving ethically because they're more likely to inspire others to follow them. Eleanor Roosevelt, when she was first lady in 1939, resigned from the Daughters of the American Revolution because they refused to allow the black soprano Marian Anderson to sing in the Constitution Hall in Washington. Eleanor then went on to organise for Marian to sing at a huge, free outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial just a few weeks later. Abraham Lincoln also comes to mind with his January 1863 executive order to emancipate the slaves at the height of the American Civil War. And we know that he is widely regarded as one of the best presidents of the United States.

Joanne Jarvis

Yes, they're great examples of leaders who have led with strong moral purpose. And I'm also mindful of an American writer and teacher, Margaret Wheatley, who wisely said 'In these troubled times, we don't need more command and control. We need better means to engage everyone's intelligence in solving challenges and crises as they arrive'. We know that effective leaders established relational trust in order to build consensus and inspire others to follow them. They have a vision and a language to articulate that vision, and they bring people together. So can you think of a leader who demonstrated these attributes?

Judy King

Well, quite a few come to mind, especially Bob Hawke. When he entered parliament in 1983, he came with a well established reputation as a consensus leader. His exceptional communication skills and his commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict, inspired widespread support through his 9 years in office as prime minister. He brought opposing groups to reach a common understanding. He probably made it seem easy, but it does take considerable skill and it really is one of the defining features of many successful leaders. What was also interesting about Hawke, was his very strong sense of self belief. Often, but not always, tempered with humility. Bob Hawke's capacity for self belief is somewhat legendary, but at the same time he was also willing to accept responsibility and reflect on and learn from mistakes.

Joanne Jarvis

In fact, Judy, these are great examples of just some of the School Leadership Institute mindsets in practice. Hawke was clearly courageous and collaborative and he showed great efficacy through his self belief. And so do effective school leaders, who respond to the circumstances and challenges of their times. No one day is ever the same. Judy, what are your thoughts about this?

Judy King

Indeed, every single day at school has its own complexities. There are some famous examples from history, which are entrenched in a complex mix of unique circumstances and Winston Churchill is a good example. He was really an appropriate leader for the times. He became prime minister in May 1940 when Britain was resisting the Nazis, without any allies other than the British Empire. Another example might be Lyndon Johnson. In 1964 he was determined to pass the Civil Rights Act despite huge opposition from the southern Democrats, but he inspired them to support the legislation. And, Johnson said famously, 'Well, what in the hell is the presidency for if you cannot influence the nation for the greater good?' Johnson's Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were major steps forward in dismantling the centuries old segregation laws in the USA. He's not often regarded as a great president, because of the Vietnam War, but he achieved what President Kennedy could not: civil rights legislation that changed America. In doing this, he demonstrated strong moral purpose, 101 years after Lincoln's emancipation executive order.

Joanne Jarvis

As I reflect on these examples and the work of school leaders, it certainly takes a lot of courage to forge new directions and bring people with you and the curiosity to shape a better future. For me, courage is about being vulnerable whilst also maintaining high standards of myself and others. It's about not walking past the standard that I'm not prepared to accept. And curiosity is important because it's about listening to understand others in order to generate new ways of thinking. Judy, what is the place of curiosity and courage in history?

Judy King

I'm a great believer in courage being tempered by common sense. It's no good being courageous and being foolhardy. In 1942 the Labor Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, showed enormous courage in defying Winston Churchill. It was regarding the placement of Australian troops and war materials in the Pacific in World War 2. Curtin's momentous decision to protect Australia determined the future of our foreign policy from then on. Curtin had a very clear sense of direction. He responded decisively to urgent and dangerous circumstances and provided a strong rationale to the British government and to Australian citizens for his decisions. Just like school leaders, Curtin's a good example of courage, clear communication skills and the capacity to respond decisively in a crisis. Catherine the Great, the Empress of the Russian Empire in the 18th century, is famous for her insatiable intellectual and scientific curiosity. She actually invited the English doctor Thomas Dimsdale to the court of St Petersburg as early as 1764 to inoculate her and her son and heir, Paul, against smallpox. The Empress was a ruthless autocrat, but she embraced the scientific theories of the Enlightenment and she loathed superstition. By accepting the new scientific approach to managing smallpox, she hoped to inspire her court and her subjects and church leaders to do the same. She demonstrated courage, fine communication skills when refuting non-scientific counter arguments and she provided a sound rationale for her point of view and her strategies for dealing with the constant smallpox outbreaks across her vast empire.

Joanne Jarvis

So these are really fine examples of the timelessness of leadership in action. A powerful example of a 20th century leader who I think was entirely influential, was Eleanor Roosevelt. She once said, 'A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves'. As a principal, I saw this all the time with great teachers and leaders who got the best out of students while also bringing the best version of themselves to school every day. They lit the fire every day and rekindled it when that extra spark was needed. Can you comment on Eleanor's observation Judy?

Judy King

Well, Curtin changed Australia. Hawke changed Australia, but so did Charlie Perkins and the civil rights activists in our country in the 1960s. Perkins was a leader with a strong moral compass. He was one of only 2 Aboriginal students enrolled at Sydney University in 1965. His organisation of the Freedom Ride bus, in conjunction with the Reverend Ted Noffs at the Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, exposed the entrenched racism and discrimination in New South Wales country towns and regional areas. One of the white social justice activists on the bus with Perkins was Jim Spigelman. He later became the Chief Justice of New South Wales. I was actually completing my DipEd in 1965 at Sydney University and remember the day that the Freedom Ride bus departed the university. Perkins channelled his inner Gandhi through the 15-day bus journey and he responded to violent attacks and racist slurs with courage and determination. He demonstrated that conflict can be resolved peacefully. The Freedom Ride exposed significant housing and health issues, especially for Aboriginal children. It also exposed the exploitation of Aboriginal women and the entrenched segregation policies in New South Wales country towns. But in 1967, 90 per cent of Australians voted 'yes' in the referendum to have Aboriginal Australians counted in the Census. The Freedom Ride and its extensive media coverage highlighted the urgent need for social reform in our country. It took several more years for the racist attitudes and segregation practices and policies to be eradicated. But social reformers, after 1965 acknowledged they owed a great debt to Charlie Perkins and his commitment to social justice. He had inspired subsequent generations of both black and white social justice activists.

Joanne Jarvis

So the impact of Perkins' leadership happened over decades. And this reminds me that significant and lasting improvements often do not happen overnight. So are there some examples in history that illustrate this concept for you?

Judy King

Yes, there are Jo. The Australian suffragettes campaigned from the 1860s for women's suffrage, but they weren't granted the right to vote and the right to stand for parliament until Federation in 1901. But this was well ahead of the English suffragettes. They were also campaigning from the 1860s, but were not granted the vote until 1918 for women over 30 and in 1928 for women over 21. But the French feminists had to wait for the vote until 1944.

Joanne Jarvis

So Judy, leadership is a responsibility. And, as you've shown today, regardless of context or time and place, there are certain common attributes displayed by these leaders who have been especially influential. For me, they've demonstrated strong moral purpose and they've operated within an ethical framework. And, you've also captured beautifully the complexities of the School Leadership Institute Leadership Mindsets.

Judy King

Well leading public schools is a great privilege, but it's also a great responsibility. The school leaders are called on to be the very best version of themselves at all times. Making a difference and inspiring optimism for the future is what effective leaders have been doing for thousands of years.

Joanne Jarvis

So, thank you, Judy, for joining me today in this podcast series. We've been talking history together since 1985 and it's always been so fun and inspiring. After all, there are thousands of examples at our disposal. Today, we've only used just a few, but it nonetheless has been a wonderful experience to be able to share your wisdom and your expertise as we talk about leadership through the lens of history.

Judy King

Thanks so much Jo for the opportunity.

Joanne Jarvis

So visit the School Leadership website for further resources for school leaders, or Google the School Leadership Institute and follow us on Twitter @NSWSLI. Thanks for listening.

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